The First Word in Protective & Marine Coatings

A Product of Technology Publishing / PaintSquare
JPCL | PaintSquare News | Durability + Design | Paint BidTracker

Resource Guide Extreme Temperatures

Paint and Coatings Industry News

Main News Page

Bucking Trends, Asbestos Surges in U.S.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

More items for Environmental Controls

Comment | More

Although banned in scores of countries, asbestos is actually booming in the United States, the U.S. Geological Survey reports in a new study.

U.S. consumption of the fire-proofing, insulating fiber increased by 13% from 2010 to 2011, although the mineral is no longer even mined in the country, the USGS reports. The U.S. consumed 1,180 metric tons of asbestos in 2011, compared with 1,040 metric tons in 2010, according to the USGS’s new 2011 Minerals Yearbook

 Chrysotile asbestos was the only kind of asbestos used in the United States last year.

 U.S. Department of Labor

Chrysotile was the only kind of asbestos used in the United States last year.

Roofing products are the nation’s No. 1 end market for asbestos, accounting for 41% of consumption.

Bans and Warnings

Asbestos has not been mined in the United States since 2002; the country imports its supplies from Canada, Brazil and South Africa.

Chrysotile asbestos, the only type used in the United States in 2011, has been banned in the European Union, Australia, Hong Kong, Japan and New Zealand. Canada also recently ceased mining of asbestos.

The mineral is classified as a known human carcinogen by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

In 1989, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a rule banning most asbestos-containing materials, but the rule was overturned in 1991 in Corrosion Proof Fittings v. EPA. The ruling said, among other things, that the EPA had not sufficiently explored the safety of asbestos alternatives before issuing the ban.

The ruling leaves many products that can still legally contain trace amounts of asbestos. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulates asbestos exposure in the workplace.

Stockpiling Cited

The USGS said the increase in U.S. consumption was likely due to the stockpiling of material for future use, because it was “unlikely that the markets had expanded.”

 The U.S. consumed 1,180 metric tons of asbestos in 2011, up from 1,040 metric tons in 2010.

 Calvin College

The U.S. used 1,180 metric tons of asbestos in 2011; 1,040 metric tons, in 2010.

In addition to roofing products, diaphragms for the chlor-alkali industry account for 28% of U.S. asbestos demand; coating and compounds, 2%, plastics, less than 1%; and other uses, about 29%, the USGS reported.

Much of the chrysotile for which no end use was specified was likely to have been used by the chlor-alkali industry in 2011, the USGS said, citing data reported by the United Business Media Global Trade.

“Chrysotile was the only type of asbestos used in the United States in 2011, 49% of which was grade 7, 16% was grade 5,12% was grade 4, and 23% was unspecified,” the report said.

Despite the increase in consumption, the report suggests that use of the fiber is likely to decline over time as the few remaining consuming industries slowly replace older asbestos-based technology or phase out its use.

However, world production remained at 2 million metric tons in 2011, due to continued demand.


Tagged categories: Asbestos; Building materials; Construction; Health and safety; Industry surveys; Market research

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (8/14/2012, 10:53 AM)

Still a pretty small amount. For comparison, the US imported 11,000,000 metric tons of bauxite and 2,230,000 metric tons of alumina for smelting into aluminum metal. Consumption of gypsum was 23,400,000 metric tons of gypsum (for wallboard/drywall.)

Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.

Novatek Corporation
Dustless Coatings Removal

Strip it, clean it, and profile it,
all dust free! High production
rates and Blast like finishes.
Comply with new lead

LS Industries
LS Blasters: Optimum Steel Cleaning Efficiency

Simplify surface prep with the precise shot control of LS Blasters. Our blast technology delivers optimum coverage and finish. 800-533-8008

CS Unitec
Peening Preparation Tools

CS Unitec’s hand-held scarifiers are an ideal alternative to small-area shot blasting for cleaning and preparing concrete & metal surfaces.

Blastox/The TDJ Group, Inc.
Blastox - One Step
Lead Abatement

Don't waste $$ on added labor steps with other methods. Don't mix, meter or apply at the job-site. Avoid strict hazardous waste rules.
Let your painters paint!

JPCL Europe

• DFT & anticorrosive epoxy
• Waterproofing steel bridges
• Business negotiating tips
• EMEA news, and more!

Dampney Co., Inc.
Rubber In a can!

Rubberized Spray in a
Handy Aerosol Can

• Stays flexible
• Seals off moisture penetration
• Non sagging formulation
• Will not crack, chip or peel
• Apply to wet and dry surfaces
• Paintable

Mohawk Garnet
Mohawk Garnet™ – North American Hard Rock

Rough around the edges – which is what you want in your abrasive. More information at 1.866.642.7638 or

Technology Publishing

The Technology Publishing Network

The Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings (JPCL) PaintSquare
Durability + Design Paint BidTracker JPCL Europe

EXPLORE:      JPCL   |   PaintSquare News   |   Interact   |   Buying Guides   |   Webinars   |   Resources   |   Classifieds
REGISTER AND SUBSCRIBE:      Free PaintSquare Registration   |   Subscribe to JPCL   |   Subscribe to PaintSquare News
MORE:      About   |   Privacy policy   |   Terms & conditions   |   Site Map   |   Search   |   Contact Us

© Copyright 2000-2014, Technology Publishing / PaintSquare, All rights reserved
2100 Wharton Street, Suite 310, Pittsburgh PA 15203-1951; Tel 1-412-431-8300; Fax 1-412-431-5428; E-mail