From the blog

There are Stricter Regulations for Manufacturers of Asbestos

Published: October 6, 2023

Now that the final reporting from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxic Substances Control Act is completed, asbestos manufacturers and processors are under stricter regulations. This is all due to the EPA mandating the reporting and record-keeping of uses of asbestos by companies that manufacture, import, or process asbestos or asbestos containing products. The EPA claims it is continuing to work to protect people from asbestos. Asbestos is a known carcinogen that causes not only cancer, but other serious health problems. A ban on chrysotile asbestos has been proposed by the EPA. It claims that the data from the final rule will help to further our knowledge of the safety of asbestos, allowing the agency to address the health risks of the remaining uses of asbestos.

The rule pertains to manufacturers and processors who used asbestos from 2019 to 2022 and had annual sales of $500,000 or more. These companies must report asbestos-related data, including the amounts processed, usage types, and employee information. The rule also applies to asbestos containing products and mixtures containing asbestos. Companies affected by the rule have nine months to gather and submit data to the EPA. Data that is collected will be used by the EPA for risk evaluation and risk management activities. The information will also be made available to the public, which could improve information quality, compliance assurance and accountability, can help inform, and can drive industry innovation. The final reporting rule is one of multiple actions completed by the EPA to address health risks associated with asbestos. A ban on chrysotile asbestos was proposed by the agency in 2022, which is the only form known to be imported into the United States, mainly by the chlor-alkali industry.

Asbestos is highly regulated in the United States. There is still no ban, despite the dangers of the mineral. It was used in many different products like building materials, cement, insulation, fireproofing materials, auto parts, etc. Nearly 27 million workers were exposed to aerosolized asbestos products between the years 1940 and 1979. There are still 1.3 million construction and industry workers still at risk of exposure. When asbestos fibers are inhaled, they can become lodged in human tissue like the lungs and mesothelium, where they can then cause DNA changes and inflammation, which then leads to cancer. People who do renovation or demolition work are also at risk of asbestos exposure due to products like vinyl asbestos floor tiles, cement, roofing felt, adhesives, reinforced plastics, and different sealings and coatings.

“EPA Takes Another Step to Protect the Public from Asbestos Exposure by Finalizing Rule to Require Comprehensive Reporting” EPA (July 6, 2023). [Link]
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