Washington's Asbestos Product Labeling Law
The 2013 Legislature passed a law requiring 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.
Who does the law affect?
The new law applies to manufacturers, wholesalers, or distributors of asbestos-containing building materials.
Retailers/Wholesalers/Distributors: If you have questions regarding this labeling rule and how it will be implemented locally, refer to the policy linked below, then call Spokane Clean Air at (509) 477-4727, if you still have questions/concerns.
What does the law require?
Effective January 1, 2014, the marketers of products described above 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 to put the label
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 the label should say
At a minimum, the label must read:
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.
Exemptions - The labeling requirement does not apply to:
- Retailers that do not manufacture, wholesale or distribute asbestos-containing building materials are exempt from the labeling requirements.
- Asbestos-containing building materials that have already been installed, applied or used by the consumer; or are used solely for U.S. Military purposes.
- For more information on exemptions, how/where to apply for an exemption, etc., please visit the Washington State Dept. of Ecology's webpage.
Building materials - The term “building materials” does not include products designed for automobiles, recreational vehicles, boats or other mobile means of transportation.
If you have questions regarding this labeling rule and how it will be implemented locally, refer to the enforcement policy, then call Spokane Clean Air at (509) 477-4727, if you still have questions/concerns.
Myth: Asbestos has been banned from products.
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.
Asbestos causes painful, premature death due to asbestosis, mesothelioma, lung and gastrointestinal cancers, and other diseases and cancers.
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.