The Attorneys General of 14 states and the District of Columbia petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to issue an asbestos reporting rule under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to obtain necessary information regarding the importation, manufacturing, processing, distribution, use and disposal of cancer-causing asbestos.
The petition comes as the EPA, under the Trump administration, announced a significant new use rule that will allow for new uses of asbestos, a fibrous mineral that was widely used in construction, shipbuilding, and friction materials. Its use was restricted in the United States in the 1980s.
It had been known for decades that asbestos exposure can cause serious health problems, including the chronic lung disease asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma, a rare but deadly form of cancer that develops in the lining of the lungs, abdomen or chest. More than 60 countries have already banned asbestos.
The Attorneys General’s petition also references a similar petition submitted by a group of non-governmental organizations (NGO) in September 2018.
“Without adequate information on ongoing importation and use of asbestos and asbestos-containing products, the risk evaluation will fail to provide a meaningful picture of the threat that asbestos poses to public health, and citizens will be in the dark about exposure to asbestos in their communities and places of employment,” that petition stated.
Linda Reinstein, president and CEO of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), one of the NGOs that signed the petition last September, said she supported the Attorneys General for joining the fight to protect the public from the dangerous effects of asbestos.
“We are grateful and pleased that the states are showing leadership in holding the Trump EPA accountable for its reckless disregard of public health,” Reinstein said. “When they denied the ADAO’s petition, EPA irresponsibly refused to collect information that its own scientists need to do their jobs properly and that workers and the public need so they know whether they are being exposed to asbestos and can protect themselves from harm.”