The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a new proposed rule to finally ban the use of all asbestos. Asbestos is a carcinogen that is still used in the U.S. and kills many thousands of Americans every year.
The proposed rule would ban the use of all asbestos, including chrysotile asbestos, under a 2016 law that overhauled rules governing tens of thousands of toxic chemicals in everyday products, from household cleaners to clothing and furniture. Chrysotile asbestos is the most common type of asbestos used in products, from brake linings and gaskets to floors and roofs, and used to manufacture other products, such as chlorine bleach and sodium hydroxide. Asbestos can also be found in beauty products and household appliances.
Over 30 years ago, the EPA tried to ban asbestos, but the manufacturing industry sued, and two years later it was overturned by a court decision.
Asbestos is currently banned in more than 50 countries, and while the U.S. stopped intentionally mining asbestos, it still imports chrysotile asbestos mostly from Brazil and Russia.
Linda Reinstein, co-founder and president of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) and former Brayton Purcell client, called the EPA rule “a landmark step forward,” but that “more work needs to be done to prevent exposure to asbestos and protect Americans.”
If approved, the asbestos ban would take effect two years after it is approved.