Asbestos exposure causes serious illnesses, such as mesothelioma and lung cancer. Its use has been heavily restricted for years, but never outright banned in the United States. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently issued new guidance regarding the use of asbestos, tightening the restrictions.
The rule addresses critical gaps in current asbestos regulations, specifically around discontinued uses of chrysotile asbestos that manufacturers may wish to revisit. The EPA’s Unified Agenda proposes a ban on the manufacture, processing, and distribution of asbestos-containing aftermarket automotive products, including brakes, brake linings, gaskets, and friction products. Other banned products include chrysotile sheet gaskets for chemical manufacturing and brake blocks used by oil companies, as well as components used by chlor-alkali plants. The agenda also prohibits the import of asbestos for these purposes; asbestos is no longer mined in the United States but continues to be produced in other countries.
The agenda contains restrictions beyond the production of asbestos products. The EPA recommends new reporting requirements for asbestos-containing products, including quantities of chrysotile asbestos and information relating to exposure risks, which would inform future rulings by the EPA. The agency also established new procedures for the disposal of asbestos. The next step for the proposed regulations will be to open the process to public comments before a final ruling is issued in October of 2023.
Toxic Substances Control Act Mandates Regular Releases
The EPA released its newest regulations as part of its semi-annual agenda. The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) requires the agency to issue a release regarding its recent or upcoming regulatory actions twice each year, and its most recent release on January 4 included some updates on asbestos. The January agenda builds upon other recent releases from the EPA regarding asbestos. In 2021, the agency completed a new risk evaluation for the substance, assessing the dangers of exposure, and in April 2022, another rule was proposed and addressed the unreasonable risk related to exposure.
The EPA’s first standards regarding asbestos were released in the early 1970s. Asbestos has been regulated since the 1980s, when the link between asbestos and deadly disease was already widely recognized for many years. The latest ruling, if passed, would bring the U.S. closer to a ban, closing old loopholes and preventing new asbestos exposure risks.
Philadelphia Mesothelioma Attorneys at Shein Law Can Help You After an Asbestos Disease Diagnosis
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, lung cancer, or another type of asbestos-related disease, consult with our Philadelphia mesothelioma attorneys at Shein Law. With offices conveniently located in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Call 877-743-4652 or contact us online to discuss your case with an attorney.