As of this writing on August 21, the Environmental Protection Agency still considers the SNUR or “significant new use rule” that would allow new uses of asbestos after required notice to the EPA to be at the proposed-rule stage. It remains to be seen whether the agency will finalize the rule after it considers the public comments submitted, which number almost 6,000, according to the federal regulations.gov website.
We recently published a post describing the background of this EPA proposal. As we said, many experts and advocates across the country widely and forcefully criticize the proposed rule, which would allow new uses of asbestos in building materials with proper EPA notice and approval.
It is widely known that asbestos causes fatal cancers and other horrible diseases and that no level of exposure is acceptable. That our government would propose new uses of the deadly mineral is beyond the comprehension of people who understand its properties. In fact, the EPA has even said it will not consider the historical evidence of harmful inclusion in building materials and landfills when the agency looks at whether to approve future uses.
Examples of current criticism:
- EcoWatch asks why instead of looking at new uses we are not instead moving toward a total ban like those in 65 other countries.
- The Herald-Dispatch notes that analyzing the safety of new uses in a vacuum that does not look at the “wealth of information from the past” will be “flawed.”
- CNN published an article by Linda Reinstein, a well-known anti-asbestos advocate, who questions why President Trump loves asbestos and calls on Congress to “hold the EPA accountable and demand they do their job.”
We will continue to use this space to keep readers up to date on further developments regarding this SNUR.