EPA Bans Most Common Form of Asbestos – Chrysotile White Asbestos

March 18, 2024, will forever stand as a milestone in the fight for public safety as the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in collaboration with the Biden administration, has officially enacted a comprehensive ban on chrysotile white asbestos. This move comes after over three decades of tireless advocacy and marks the first significant restriction on this hazardous substance by the federal government since 1989. Chrysotile white asbestos has been linked to devastating illnesses such as mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis, contributing to an estimated 40,000 deaths annually in the United States alone.

Although this regulation bans the use of asbestos, the cause of mesothelioma, hundreds of thousands of people have already been affected. The impacts of asbestos take years, even decades, to come to fruition, as the latency period of white asbestos-related diseases is 10-50 years. This regulation encompasses a comprehensive halt on using, manufacturing, and importing chrysotile asbestos. This form of asbestos is the sole raw material currently imported, processed, or distributed for use in the U.S.. Due to its fire-resistant and durable qualities, its lethal properties have been exploited for decades, finding application in roofing materials, textiles, asbestos cement products, and even automotive components like gaskets, clutches, and brake pads.

“The science is clear – asbestos is a known carcinogen that has severe impacts on public health. That’s why EPA is so proud to finalize this long-needed ban on the ongoing use of asbestos.” – EPA Administrator Michael Regan

Occupational Effects of a White Asbestos Ban

The upcoming EPA rule marks a crucial step toward protecting public health from the dangers of asbestos diseases such as mesothelioma. Upon publication, it will immediately halt the importation of asbestos for chlor-alkali use. However, a more comprehensive ban on most other uses will be phased in over two years.

In a show of urgency, specific high-risk applications will see quicker action. For instance, the prohibition on asbestos in oilfield brake blocks, aftermarket automotive brakes and linings, and other gaskets will be enforced within six months. Similarly, a ban on asbestos products such as sheet gaskets will be implemented within two years, with a few exceptions. Notably, sheet gaskets used in producing titanium dioxide and for nuclear material processing will be phased out over five years.

Despite these stringent measures, the EPA acknowledges the need for practical solutions in specific contexts. Therefore, asbestos-containing sheet gaskets will remain permissible until 2037 at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site in South Carolina. This exception is crucial to ensure the safe disposal of nuclear materials proceeds according to schedule. While these regulatory changes may require adjustments, they are vital strides towards prioritizing human safety. By balancing the need for protection with practical considerations, the EPA demonstrates its commitment to safeguarding both public health and critical industrial processes.

Asbestos causes latent mesothelioma. Think you were exposed? Request a case evaluation to pinpoint the cause and who’s responsible.
Evaluate My Case

History of Chrysotile White Asbestos Regulations

Back in 1976, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was entrusted with the responsibility to meticulously monitor record-keeping, testing requirements, and limitations on chemical substances through the enactment of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

As mesothelioma cases continued to surface, the gravity of the situation became increasingly apparent. In response, President Reagan took action by signing into law the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) in 1986. This critical legislation aimed to shield millions of students and employees who were potentially exposed to friable asbestos material. It mandated the EPA to devise a comprehensive regulatory framework for schools to inspect their premises for asbestos, ensuring the implementation of appropriate measures upon its discovery.

However, the effectiveness of the Toxic Substances Control Act was severely undermined following a federal court decision in 1991, which permitted the ongoing importation and utilization of asbestos. This setback rendered the law virtually ineffective in safeguarding those most vulnerable to its adverse effects, as noted by Michal Freedhoff, who heads chemical safety and pollution prevention for the EPA.

Recognizing the urgency of the matter, bipartisan concern among members of Congress spurred action in 2016; however, nothing came to fruition. As part of President Joe Biden’s Cancer Moonshot initiative, EPA Administrator Michael Regan called the final rule a significant step to protect public health and ban white chrysotile asbestos in March 2024 after it was first proposed on April 5th, 2022.

How Dangerous is White Chrysotile Asbestos?

This monumental U.S. white asbestos ban symbolizes a collective commitment to prioritize public health and well-being. It reflects the power of persistence and dedication in the face of significant health risks. By invoking the nation’s updated chemical safety law, this asbestos ban underscores a shared determination to protect citizens from the dangers of asbestos exposure.

Veterans who served overseas could have also encountered asbestos either in the products they used or buildings that they stayed in. Every year, veterans face exposure due to importers and manufacturers. If you’ve been exposed, or think you have been, legal options may be available to you to seek compensation if you ended up contracting a disease like mesothelioma.

Facing cancer due to prior asbestos exposure can be daunting. Seeking treatment at specialized medical centers and staying informed about asbestos risks can provide crucial support and empowerment. As the new EPA asbestos ban takes effect, our free mesothelioma guide offers valuable resources on treatment options, legal aid, and more, serving as a beacon of support during this challenging time. Remember, you’re not alone, and help is available every step of the way. Get your free mesothelioma guide today and take the next step toward justice.

Last updated on April 9th, 2024 at 08:28 pm

Mesothelioma Support Team

Mesothelioma Hub is dedicated to helping you find information, support, and advice. Reach out any time!