More on Reducing Risks from Specific Chemicals
Asbestos is the common name for a group of naturally occurring mineral fibers with high tensile strength, the ability to be woven, and resistance to heat and most chemicals. Because of these properties, asbestos fibers have been used in a wide range of manufactured goods, including construction materials and friction products such as automobile clutches and brakes.
Exposure to asbestos can be harmful to human health if fibers are released into the air when asbestos is disturbed or in poor condition. These fibers can cause serious health problems when inhaled into the lungs. Asbestos exposure has been associated with a number of serious health problems and diseases, including asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma. EPA is committed to providing the public with accurate and timely public health information and is continuing to address concerns about asbestos.
The Asbestos Model Accreditation Plan (MAP) provides training requirements for states to follow when developing their own state programs for training asbestos professionals. The asbestos MAP requires initial training (which includes hands-on training) and annual refresher training for the various course disciplines.
- On April 2, 2007, EPA released a new brochure that provides health and safety information for professional and do-it-yourself mechanics who may work with asbestos-containing automotive components. Current Best Practices for Preventing Asbestos Exposure Among Brake and Clutch Repair Workers emphasizes the need to prevent asbestos fibers from escaping into the air during repair work. While it is impossible to tell if clutch and brake components contain asbestos, the brochure advises that mechanics should automatically assume the possible presence of asbestos.
- Emphasizes ways to avoid asbestos exposure, such as warning against blowing dust from brakes and clutches with compressed air,
- Summarizes work practices by detailing three recognized methods for containing asbestos dust in a professional automotive shop, and
- Lists do's and don'ts for do-it-yourself mechanics (e.g., not taking work-clothing inside the house to prevent exposing family members to asbestos dust).
- EPA responded to a public inquiry stating that the MAP does not prohibit online annual refresher training and that states may approve such training courses at their discretion. On July 9, 2007, EPA provided states with guidelines for evaluating online MAP annual refresher training courses.
View EPA's Asbestos Web site for more information about specific asbestos issues. EPA has a toll-free hotline for asbestos issues (1-800-471-7127).