20 years of research suggests asbestos regulations need updating.

Asbestos regulations were last updated in the mid-1980s, and more than 20 years of health research suggests it’s time to update those regulations again, said NIEHS Senior Medical Advisor Aubrey Miller, M.D., during a March 23 keynote speech at the annual international Asbestos Awareness Conference in Washington, D.C. New research shows that much lower exposures to asbestos can cause disease.

Miller stressed the need to update asbestos regulations, as soon as possible. “We need to push for lower exposure levels, to fund fundamental research to identify what is toxic about these materials, and to address materials, such as erionite, currently not regulated as asbestos,” he told the attendees. “We also need to push for modernizing techniques for sampling and analysis, and to test consumer products potentially contaminated with asbestos.