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Air Quality Program

2013 Requirement to Label Building Materials that Contain Asbestos

WHY IT MATTERS

Asbestos causes painful, premature death due to asbestosis, mesothelioma, lung and gastrointestinal cancers, and other diseases and cancers.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began regulating asbestos in 1973 and banned most use of asbestos in 1989. However, that rule was overturned a few years later.

Because few regulations exist requiring the disclosure of asbestos in building materials, people can unknowingly be exposed to asbestos.

The purpose of this law is to allow people to make informed decisions about whether to purchase or use building materials containing asbestos.

The 2013 Legislature passed a law that requires labeling for certain building materials that contain asbestos.

Asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral fiber. Because of its strength and heat resistance, asbestos has been used in a variety of building construction materials. Today, asbestos-containing building materials are still imported, sold, and used in the United States - despite our knowledge that asbestos is harmful to human health. People using asebestos-containing building materials should avoid creating and breathing dust.

Who is affected by this law?

The law applies to manufacturers, wholesalers, and distributors of asbestos-containing building materials.

What does this law require?

Effective January 1, 2014, manufacturers, wholesalers, and distributors of asbestos-containing building materials must prominently label both the product and packaging for the following building materials:

  • Any building material naturally containing more than one percent asbestos.
  • Any building material that has any amount of asbestos added to it.

Where does the label need to be put?

Label the product:

  • In a prominent location near the product name or description on the exterior wrapping or packaging in which the product is stored, shipped, and sold.
  • On the exterior surface of the asbestos-containing building material itself, unless it is:
    • sold as a liquid or paste or
    • unless it is sand or gravel.

What must the label say?

At a minimum, the label must state:

CAUTION! This product contains ASBESTOS, which is known to cause cancer and lung disease. Avoid creating dust. Intentionally removing or tampering with this label is a violation of state law.



What exemptions apply?

Labeling

The labeling requirement does not apply to:

  • Retailers that do not manufacture, wholesale or distribute asbestos-containing building materials
  • Asbestos-containing building materials that:
    • Have already been installed, applied or used by the consumer
    • Are used solely for United States Military purposes
    • Were purchased by a retailer prior to January 1, 2014 (stock-on-hand)

Building materials

The term “building materials” does not include products designed for:

  • Cars
  • Recreational vehicles
  • Boats
  • Other mobile means of transportation

Can my business be exempted from this requirement?

Any manufacturer, wholesaler, or distributor may request an exemption from the labeling requirement if labeling is technically infeasible or creates an undue economic hardship. If approved, an exemption may last up to three years.

How do I request an exemption?

To request an exemption, submit an exemption request to Ecology that includes the following information:

  • Company name, requestor’s name, contact information;
  • Brand name, information/size/product UPC;
  • Type of exemption requested (technically infeasible or creates an undue economic hardship).

When can I request an exemption?

You can request an exemption at any time.

Where do I send my request?

Submit exemption requests to:

Department of Ecology
Air Quality Program, Asbestos Labeling
Washington State Department of Ecology
P.O. Box 47600
Lacey, WA 98504-7600

OR

E-Mail Ecology.

Labeling Exemption Requests

See a list of exemption requests Ecology has received.

Building Material Test Results

Ecology will post the results of laboratory tests on building materials.

For more information about this law

Contact Ecology or your local clean air agency for more information.

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