According to the Washington State Senate, people who purchase products that contain asbestos should be made aware that their purchase contains the deadly mineral, exposure to which can lead to mesothelioma.
This week, a proposal to require asbestos labeling passed on a 47-2 vote. If the House agrees, products that carry asbestos will be required to note the mineral on their labels.
The idea to enforce asbestos labeling came from the Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency staff, which inspects demolition sites for the presence of asbestos. According to agency director Bill Dameworth, “this has been an issue for a while. It’s kind of hard to find a building that your’re going to demolish that doesn’t have a lot of asbestos in it.”
From 1989 to 1991, use of asbestos was banned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. However, since that time the mineral has been used by some manufacturers in products used in home construction and remodeling. On such products, asbestos could be listed as “mineral fibers”, “chrysotile”, or not at all.
Rather than enforce a new ban on asbestos products in Washington, the agency’s board of directors opted to allow consumers to make their own choices by clearly stating if asbestos is present in a product.