Tags: Trump Administration | epa | asbestos | chemicals

EPA Proposes Allowing New Uses of Asbestos, Causing Backlash

EPA Proposes Allowing New Uses of Asbestos, Causing Backlash
(Stephen Pond/AP)

By    |   Tuesday, 07 August 2018 06:41 PM

The Environmental Protection Agency has developed a proposal that could allow for new uses of asbestos — a mineral fiber that is heavily restricted because of its links to cancer and other diseases.

On June 1, the EPA announced plans for a so-called Significant New Use Rule "for certain uses of asbestos (including asbestos-containing goods)."

Importers and manufacturers would have to get approval from the EPA before resuming or starting asbestos manufacturing, importing, or processing, according to the agency's news release.

According to Newsweek, the EPA has identified those uses would include "adhesive, 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 type, and any other building material (other than cement)."

The recent proposal followed the EPA's publication in May of a document titled "Problem Formulation of the Risk Evaluation for Asbestos," which laid out the agency's planned approach for evaluating proposed new uses for asbestos.

It does not include consulting preexisting information on asbestos use, despite the fact the health risks associated with such uses have been widely documented, Newsweek reported.

The proposed rule for asbestos use is available for public comment until Friday.

Critics are outraged at the proposal.

According to the Environmental Working Group, the EPA also will "dramatically scale back its safety evaluations for 10 chemicals under the revamped Toxic Substances Control Act," and has lashed out at the agency for "doing the bidding of the chemical industry."

The group's president, Ken Cook, charged in a statement "Vladimir Putin and Russia's asbestos industry stands to prosper mightily as a result of the Trump administration's failure to ban asbestos in the U.S.," Newsweek reported.

Linda Reinstein, president and co-founder of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, in a June statement, also said, while an estimated 15,000 Americans die each year due to preventable asbestos-related diseases, "raw asbestos imports and use continue."

"It is incredulous to know that the EPA has ignored the science, the history, and the carnage that asbestos has caused throughout the nation each year," she said.

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An Environmental Protection Agency proposal could allow for new uses of asbestos, a mineral fiber that is heavily restricted because of its links to cancer and other diseases.
epa, asbestos, chemicals
419
2018-41-07
Tuesday, 07 August 2018 06:41 PM
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