The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced that it plans to take new steps to protect people from exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is a carcinogen, known to cause deadly diseases such as mesothelioma, a rare cancer infecting the lining of the lungs and chest cavity. The proposed ban of chrysotile asbestos could help prevent deaths due to asbestos-related diseases.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was mined and used for numerous commercial purposes for most of the 20th century. Its versatility, durability, and heat- and flame-resistant properties made it an ideal additive in construction materials, automotive parts, fabrics, cosmetics, and other consumer products. Out of the six types of asbestos, chrysotile asbestos, also known as white asbestos, is the type most commonly used in the U.S. The EPA’s proposed ban would cover the making and distribution of six types of products made with chrysotile asbestos, as well as the importation of those products.
Asbestos Still a Danger
Although asbestos use has been restricted since the 1980s, it has never been outright banned in the U.S. The EPA tried to enact more widespread bans in 1989 by invoking the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), but most of their regulations were labeled as too burdensome and overturned. The TSCA was simplified in 2016, and in 2019, new limitations on the substance were introduced, but limits on risk evaluation of asbestos were simultaneously implemented. The new plan will have to contend with the impacts of those limits before it can fully go into effect.
Asbestos is still in use in some industries. As asbestos is no longer mined in the U.S., they import chrysotile asbestos for their commercial purposes, much of it from Russia. The chlorine industry has expressed their concerns about the ban, saying that it will impact the production of chlorine and sodium hydroxide that are needed for public water purification systems. The EPA has refuted this claim, saying that only nine facilities that are still reliant on this technology would be impacted, and that the change would have other positive effects, such as reducing energy usage and pollution from those facilities. The majority of these facilities are located in areas of the South with a higher percentage of black and Latino populations.
The EPA’s new regulation would move the U.S. closer to a complete ban on asbestos, which almost 70 other countries have already implemented. The restrictions currently in place have already reduced the risk of asbestos exposure for many, but there are still products in circulation that contain asbestos, and older buildings may still contain asbestos. Chrysotile asbestos is a factor in an estimated 40,000 deaths in the U.S. each year.
Philadelphia Mesothelioma Attorneys at Shein Law Assist Those Who Have Been Diagnosed With Mesothelioma
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, speak with one of our Philadelphia mesothelioma attorneys at Shein Law. Our knowledgeable, experienced legal team will thoroughly review the facts of your case to determine who is at fault for your asbestos exposure. Located in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Call 877-743-4652 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation.