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New EPA Regulations May Allow Companies to Use Asbestos in Their Products

On Behalf of | Mar 18, 2019 | Legal Resources

Under new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations, it may now be easier for companies to incorporate asbestos into their products. Here, the environmental litigation attorneys at The Law Offices of Peter Angelos detail the possible impact of these new regulations on the environment and society.

Asbestos is a Known Health Threat

Asbestos, which was once claimed to be a “magic-mineral,” used to be widely-used in manufacturing for its highly-insulative properties as well as its resistance to certain chemicals. While these properties made asbestos highly valuable, it has since been indisputably recognized as a dangerous carcinogen. Since its distinguishment as a public health threat in the 1970s, the carcinogen is now banned in over 55 different countries. However, despite the well-established dangers of asbestos and its direct link to malignant cancers like mesothelioma and lung cancer, new EPA regulations may allow the toxic substance to become more accessible to American corporations. This means that asbestos could once again be used in materials that require insulation as well as in common household products. While the United States has certainly restricted the usage of asbestos in manufacture, especially with significant regulations outlined in the EPA’s 1973 Clean Air Act and the 1989 Asbestos Ban and Phase Out Rule, the toxic material is not entirely banned.

The EPA Enacted a “SNUR” on June 1st, 2018

The current EPA has enacted a “SNUR,” or a Significant New Use Rule, that authorized the manufacture of new products containing asbestos to be petitioned and potentially approved by the federal government on an individual basis. In addition, a report by the EPA that outlined a new framework for evaluating risks stated that it would no longer consider the presence of substances in the air, ground or water in its assessment of risks. In other words, water and air contamination, emissions, improper disposal of chemicals and the potential health risks associated with these dangers would no longer be prioritized, opening a gate for asbestos to sneak into the environment and potentially affect public health.

Reduced Federal Regulations Means Responsibility for State Government Regulations

Ultimately, the new laissez-faire approach to asbestos regulation in American industries transfers accountability to state and local governments, as it is essential for local governments to establish regulations to protect our community and the environment. It will also be necessary for environmentally focused, health-conscious American companies to remain clean and educate the population on the dangers of reintroducing asbestos into American manufacture.

Speak to an Environmental Litigation Attorney at The Law Offices of Peter Angelos

The hazardous effects of asbestos on both public health and the environment are well-documented, and the reduced regulations set forth by the EPA to regulate the use of asbestos in production poses a potential threat to both society and our surroundings, particularly if state and local governments do not respond to the regulations with heightened regulations of their own. The environmental litigation attorneys at The Law Offices of Peter Angelos are acutely aware of the severity of allowing asbestos to be incorporated into American manufacture and seek to provide legal counsel to individuals affected by the dangerous substance. If you or a loved one’s health has ever been impacted by asbestos exposure, contact The Law Offices of Peter Angelos immediately.