With the reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) recently signed by the Senate, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been under extreme pressure to make good on their promises to investigate and appraise harmful substances that are still legal in the U.S., including asbestos. Numerous people want asbestos at the top of the list to be flagged for evaluation.
Bloomberg BNA reports that the EPA is scheduled to review at least 10 chemicals by December 22. The organization must prioritize the substances that are considered the most harmful and known carcinogens. Senator Barbara Boxer, of California, is one of the many people pushing the EPA to include asbestos on its top 10 list. The senator wrote a letter recently, outlining the dangers of asbestos exposure. A portion of the letter read,
“The evidence regarding the dangers of asbestos is overwhelming. As EPA found in its 1989 rule making, “[it] is well-recognized that asbestos is a human carcinogen and is one of the most hazardous substances to which humans are exposed in both occupational and non-occupational settings. ”
The letter also pointed out that, “according to the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), the estimated annual number of asbestos-related disease deaths is nearly 15,000 in the U.S., including nearly 11,000 deaths from lung cancer.”
Yet, despite the in-depth studies, warnings, and danger about asbestos, asbestos remains legal in the U.S. and a number of companies continue to use it. In fact, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) reports that between the years 2014 to 2016, around 8.2 million pounds of raw asbestos was imported into the nation.
Linda Reinstein, co-founder of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, also expressed her desire to have asbestos evaluated by the EPA as soon as possible. She told Bloomberg that TSCA signing a new law into place that gives EPA more power in dealing with harmful substances, doesn’t mean her organization, or any other asbestos awareness organization for that matter, will walk away from the issue.
“Although TSCA reform was signed into law, it doesn’t mean that any of the sponsors or co-sponsors are going to walk away and ignore implementation.”
Reinstein’s point is an excellent one, according to experts who understand that adding asbestos to the list to be evaluated is just the first step in the process. It could take upwards of several years to go through the regulatory process. If successful, it could mean that all the companies that are still using the dangerous mineral would be forced to remove all asbestos-containing products and materials from its inventory.
About the TSCA Newly Reformed Chemical Safety Rules
Chemical safety laws haven’t been update since 1976, until recently, when the U.S. House gave the final approval earlier this year. Under the outdated laws, around 64,000 chemicals used in the marketplace remained untested by the EPA. The newly reform law now requires that the EPA test all existing and new chemicals for safety, and to determine whether they are safe for humans and the environment.
The EPA has seven years to assess each chemical, and can only take around 20 chemicals at a time. If the chemicals are found unsafe, the laws could change drastically, including stricter state laws. According to Maureen Gorsen, former director of the California Department of Toxic Substances Control,
“The impact to the manufacturing sector may be enormous. This will be the largest authorization of new jurisdiction to the US Environmental Protection Agency since the Clean Air Act re-authorization in 1991. Reform has been a long time coming, but it remains to be seen how new safety standards and regulations will be enforced and what changes manufacturers will need to make.”
Additional Help and Resources for Asbestos Victims
If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis, or asbestos-related cancer, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. We invite you to fill out our form today for a free Financial Compensation Packet, filled with information about top mesothelioma lawyers in your area, how to get paid in 90 days, how to file an asbestos trust fund claim, and much more. For additional assistance, contact us at 800-793-4540.