Asbestos, a string-like fiber, is a substance that is mined and utilized for many purposes. According to 2017 CDC data, it has been linked to mesothelioma – a rare disease which causes about 3,000 deaths annually.
Although the widespread use of asbestos within building products (including insulations), was discontinued years ago, the use of asbestos, though limited, is still present in various industrial settings. Such settings include chemical filtrations and various vehicle brakes. If you or a loved one has recently been diagnosed with stage 4 mesothelioma, we may be able to help you. A proper mesothelioma diagnosis is critical to understand your prognosis.
Due to many of asbestos’ harmful side effects, a tough blockage relating to the importation and manufacturing of asbestos has been set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency in April of 2019.
Prior to the ban, the EPA had set a decade-old partial ban. Unfortunately, within this partial ban were loopholes which could have still provided companies with access to asbestos products. According to Alexandra Dunn, an assistant administrator within the agency, such products would be utilized in products as well as throughout industrials processes. The primary goal between Dunn and the agency is to close the door on such products (unless otherwise granted by the EPA) in order to keep marketplaces clean.
Within the summer of 2018, the agency had proposed SNUR – which stands for the Significant New Use Rule. Considering that SNUR did not act as an outright ban due to its lack of authority, many viewed as the best regulatory option. However, there were still many concerns raised by safety advocates relating to manufacturers and importers applying for an EPA permit as well as narrowly construed “prohibited uses”.
The agency then dove back in, in light of the extensive feedback in regard to the proposal, to include any utilization of asbestos that was not actively taking place.
This rule received support from the American Chemistry Council – an industrial group that believed it would give the EPA a stronger grasp; especially considering the rigorous safety reviews, regulations, and restrictions that would be required for exceptional requests.
Another supporter of the rule is Gary Timm – a retired EPA official whom currently works with the Environmental Protection Network.
Despite believing that many things that come out of the EPA nowadays are not always good, he does state that their work in relation to asbestos has always been well-documented and that this a positive action by the Trump administration.
According to Timm, an outright ban on asbestos usage by the agency would be the natural next step by the agency.
The regulation, according to Andrew Wheeler, the EPA Administrator, will protect the public health by granting the EPA unprecedented authorities of both domestic and imported asbestos products.
Unfortunately, many groups that work to eliminate asbestos-related diseases were not satisfied with the EPA’s actions. The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, for example, called to Congress as they were “deeply disappointed” and sought further action for a complete ban.
Though Dunn has pointed out numerous regulations and laws that govern the process and clean-up of asbestos-contained buildings, the EPA continues to review ongoing uses of asbestos. Additionally, many still hope and fight for further restrictions – if not a complete ban. If you or a loved one is searching for a New York mesothelioma lawyer or a West Virginia mesothelioma lawyer, we can help you!