(c) 2016 Jon L Gelman, All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

US Asbestos Import Deceased But Still Not Banned

Events, Trends, and Issues: U.S. imports decreased by 46% and estimated consumption of asbestos decreased by 7% in 2013. The large decline in imports resulted from increased imports and a buildup of inventories in 2012 and a drawdown of stocks during 2013. All asbestos imported and used in the United States was chrysotile, solely sourced from Brazil in 2013. The average unit value of imports declined in 2013. Based on current trends, annual U.S. asbestos consumption is likely to be between 900 and 1,000 tons for the near future.

World Mine Production and Reserves: Reserves from Brazil were revised based on new information from the Instituto Brasileiro de Mineraçäo. Mine production Reserves4 2012 2013e

United States — — Small

Brazil 307,000 300,000 11,000,000

China 420,000 400,000 Large

Kazakhstan 241,000 240,000 Large

Russia 1,000,000 1,000,000 Large

Other countries 300 300 Moderate

World total (rounded) 1,970,000 1,940,000 Large

World Resources: The world has 200 million tons of identified resources of asbestos. U.S. resources are large but are composed mostly of short-fiber asbestos, for which use in asbestos-based products is more limited than long-fiber asbestos.

Substitutes: Numerous materials substitute for asbestos. Substitutes include calcium silicate, carbon fiber, cellulose fiber, ceramic fiber, glass fiber, steel fiber, wollastonite, and several organic fibers, such as aramid, polyethylene, polypropylene, and polytetrafluoroethylene. Several nonfibrous minerals or rocks, such as perlite, serpentine, silica, and talc, are considered to be possible asbestos substitutes for products in which the reinforcement properties of fibers were not required.


(Data in metric tons unless otherwise noted)

Domestic Production and Use: Asbestos has not been mined in the United States since 2002. The United States is dependent on imports to meet manufacturing needs. Asbestos consumption in the United States was estimated to be 950 tons, based on asbestos imports through July 2013. The chloralkali industry accounted for an estimated 67% of U.S. consumption; roofing products, 30%; and unknown applications, 3%.

Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman  1.973.696.7900  have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.