New EPA Asbestos Use Rule Explained
Critics of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are concerned that the new rules the agency will be implementing will broaden the commercial use of asbestos. Mesothelioma and other diseases have been linked to exposure to the toxic material.
August 10th was the last day for the public to comment on the EPA’s proposal. The agency received close to 6,000 comments about its significant new use rule (SNUR).
With the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) being reformed, the EPA was able to propose SNUR in June. Under this proposal, companies would be able to manufacture, import, and process products containing asbestos, as long as the product first receives approval from the EPA.
More than 60 countries throughout the world have banned asbestos, including Australia, the United Kingdom, and the entire European Union.
The following is a summary of SNUR:
“The Agency has found no information indicating that the following uses are ongoing, and therefore, the following uses are subject to this proposed SNUR: Adhesives, sealants, and roof and non-roof coatings; arc chutes; beater-add gaskets; extruded sealant tape and other tape; filler for acetylene cylinders; high-grade electrical paper; millboard; missile liner; pipeline wrap; reinforced plastics; roofing felt; separators in fuel cells and batteries; vinyl-asbestos floor tile; and any other building material [other than cement].”
In the United States, asbestos is used to make a number of products, including:
- Brake Pads
- Roofing Materials
- Corrugated Sheeting
- Automobile Clutches
Under the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, asbestos was included on the agency’s top-10 priority list of dangerous chemicals subject to risk evaluations. By introducing SNUR, anti-asbestos advocates worry that it will lead to revitalized asbestos uses, while ignoring “legacy uses” like asbestos in homes, schools, and landfills throughout the United States.
According to Melanie Bush, legislative attorney for the Environmental Working Group, “Asbestos is a carcinogen regardless of whether it’s in building material that was installed 40 years ago or whether it’s in a newly manufactured product. Cancer doesn’t distinguish between these two uses, so when [the] EPA is evaluating asbestos we think they should take a comprehensive look.”
The 14 product categories listed under the new proposal include:
- Arc Chutes
- Beater-Add Gaskets
- Extruded Sealant Tape
- Acetylene Cylinder Filler
- High-Grade Electrical Paper
- Missile Liner
- Adhesives, Sealants, and Roof and Non-Roof Coatings
- Pipeline Wrap
- Reinforced Plastics
- Roofing Felt
- Separators in Fuel Cells and Batteries
- Vinyl Asbestos Floor Tile
- Insulation, Plasters, Mastics, Textured Paints, and Block Filler Paints
Schedule A Free Consultation Today
At Shrader & Associates L.L.P., we are committed to helping clients who have been exposed to asbestos fibers and diagnosed with mesothelioma. Our skilled attorneys have handled numerous cases for workers exposed to asbestos at job sites, and we have the experience and resources that you need to secure the compensation you are entitled to. Let us get to work on your case today.
Call (877) 958-7920, or contact our lawyers to schedule your free consultation.