Progress In The Fight To Ban Asbestos
The Environmental Protection Agency is moving forward in accordance with the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act and naming asbestos, as well as nine other chemicals the first that will come under review for new Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) legislation.
In June 2016, President Obama signed the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act as an amendment to the TSCA – a law that went into effect in 1976 after years of discovering common chemicals such as DDT and CFCs were harmful. For decades, loopholes in the TSCA has kept asbestos and other potentially harmful chemicals and products legal in the United States causing many to question the legitimacy of the TSCA. Under the new chemical safety act, the EPA is now required to assess all existing chemicals under strict deadlines before they become available to the consumer. A new risk-based safety standard will be implemented and there must be consistent funding for the EPA so the EPA can carry out the requirements under the new law.
Previous reports about the new chemical safety act pointed out the timeline for banning a substance could take up to seven years, causing concern for environmentalists and anti-asbestos advocates. However, as soon as the list of 10 chemicals is published on December 19, the statutory deadline to complete risk evaluations is three years. Within six months, the EPA is also required to release a scoping document for each chemical that will include hazards, exposure, conditions of use, and a list of those in the population who can potentially be exposed. If a chemical is found to be dangerous and a risk to the population and the surrounding environment, then the EPA is obligated to take action to reduce the risk within two years. Under these guidelines, asbestos could become illegal by 2021.
Below are the first 10 chemicals to be evaluated for potential health and environmental risks:
- Carbon Tetrachloride
- Cyclic Aliphatic Bromide Cluster
- Methylene Chloride
- Pigment Violet 29
- Tetrachloroethylene, also known as perchloroethylene
While many of these chemicals have been cited as possible human carcinogens, asbestos is the only known human carcinogen on the list.
The timing of this announcement has many anti-asbestos advocates relieved as recent changes in government threatened to restrict progress in the asbestos ban.
If you are suffering from an asbestos related illness, you may be entitled to compensation. The attorneys at Goldberg, Persky & White, P.C., have decades of experience helping thousands of local workers protect their rights and those of their families. Contact us today for a free no obligation consultation.
Cathy Milbourn, “EPA Names First Chemicals for Review Under New TSCA Legislation,” Environmental Protection Agency (November 29, 2016). [Link]
US Envionrmental Protection Agency, “Assessing and Managing Chemicals under TSCA,” (November 29, 2016). [Link]
“EPA Confirms Priority Action For Deadly Asbestos Protecting Against Derailment From Trump Administration,” The Huffington Post (November 29, 2016). [Link]