When people hear the word “asbestos,” a couple of ideas are likely to instantly come to mind. The first, of course, is the fiber’s link to a type of lung cancer known as mesothelioma. Once a staple of the construction industry, asbestos was praised for its insulating properties and was used extensively in the construction of houses and other structures. It wasn’t until asbestos became synonymous with mesothelioma that use of the material dwindled and consumers started actively avoiding it.
The other notion that likely comes to mention at the sound of the word is that it is no longer a health factor because its use has been banned at the federal level. That notion would be 100% false, and it is only present day that an effort is currently underway to outright ban the use of asbestos in all its forms in all types of manufacturing.
As told in a recent Politico post, the EPA is finally using its legislative and regulatory power to end the use of all forms of asbestos in America. The material can still be found in the manufacturing processes of products ranging from house shingles to vehicle brakes, as well as the production of chlorine.
Using powers granted by the Toxic Substances Control Act, the EPA is working to ban the five remaining types of asbestos fibers not covered by efforts initially launched decades ago. “EPA’s proposed rule is a strong step forward in eliminating exposure to a substance that is killing 40,000 Americans each year,” said the president of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization. Linda Reinstein, president of the organization, lost her husband to mesothelioma in 2006.
“Without legislation,” said counsel for the ADAO, “current and future exposure to asbestos fibers that have the same lethal properties as chrysotile [the only asbestos fiber currently covered under federal legislation] will continue. Congress can put a stop to this exposure by banning all six asbestos fibers now.”
The self-imposed deadline for EPA to act on the measure has been set as December 1, 2024.