A lawsuit has been filed against the EPA, the Environmental Protection Agency. This lawsuit was filed by attorneys general from 10 states as well as the District of Columbia, or Washington DC. This lawsuit aims to push the EPA into ‘doing its job’, enacting a full asbestos ban.
In 2018 the Toxic Substances Control Act was revised. As the name implies, this act gives the EPA power to make restrictions on asbestos as well as other dangerous, or toxic, chemicals. So, as you can imagine, some people are really disappointed with the EPA. It has the power to ban asbestos, yet it doesn’t. But it’s not like the possibility has been ruled out. There have been many bills presented to Congress to ban asbestos. There was an act passed (which you can read more about here) early this year. The act made it such that before new products, as well as products that are currently off the shelves, are allowed to be sold again in the United States, the EPA needs to test it to see if it is dangerous to human health. But what is this lawsuit all about? California, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington D.C. all are working together in suing the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA doesn’t comment on currently developing lawsuits, but the side of the states wanted to have their thoughts known. Xavier Becerra, a California Attorney General who is in this case, expressed his and everyone else’s disappointment towards the EPA. He said that though it is troubling that the EPA again has to be taken to court to do its job, they won’t “pull any punches”. But Xavier also said that there is too much at stake to ignore the danger of asbestos. Currently, there is a bill going through congress. If passed, it would ban the manufacture, processing, and distribution of asbestos in all forms. It is the Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act of 2019. The EPA doesn’t want any new asbestos regulations to be passed until December. That sounds really silly. Why not get asbestos banned as quickly as possible? But there is a very sensible reason behind it. The EPA is running an asbestos risk assessment. It is due to be completed in December of 2019. And then, they are completely willing to pass an asbestos ban. And it makes a lot of sense that they want to wait until it comes out. What if it turns out that the asbestos ban doesn’t ban what needs to be banned? The EPA, though, has repeatedly stated that if an unreasonable risk to human health comes up, they will make, or at least propose more asbestos regulations. Not much asbestos is brought into the United States anymore. When it is, it is usually brought in automobile brake pads or other processed forms. But processed like that it is still a big problem. Asbestos is also used in the process of making chlorine. That is the sole use of raw asbestos in the United States. In 2018, 750 tons of raw asbestos were imported into the US. And all of it was used by the chlorine industry, no leftovers! In the US asbestos isn’t really in building materials any longer, but there is a lot of legacy asbestos from past times. And that is the most dangerous asbestos we in the US are exposed to. That is not because the actual asbestos used in building is more dangerous than most, but rather because we are exposed to so much of it. So if you have or think you have asbestos in your home or building, call us at (312) 586-8713 to get it removed.