EPA to broaden risk review of Asbestos

After tremendous pressure from activist groups filing lawsuits in California, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) settled on October 12 and agreed to further research asbestos fiber types and illnesses resulting from exposure to the silicate mineral.

Previous EPA reviews of asbestos published in December 2020 examined the effects of only a small segment of products and uses that contained asbestos. The December 2020 report studied chyrostile asbestos, the only variety of the substance that is presently imported and used in the United States for producing chlorine. 

Activists groups, attorneys, and people suffering from the effects of asbestos exposure saw this study as severe mismanagement on the part of the EPA. As a result, lawsuits filed in California Federal District Court and the Ninth Circuit sought to force the EPA to paint a more accurate picture of asbestos’ effect on peoples’ health throughout the years. 

This push for new research and review will include all six types of asbestos fibers, not just the chryostile asbestos originally studied, and will examine all diseases related to the substance. Asbestos used in the construction of buildings and machinery before it was considered a serious health hazard, known as Legacy Asbestos, continues to affect people across the country and is part of the new study’s focus. 

Asbestos has been linked to a number of different devastating cancers and diseases, including mesothelioma, lung cancer, and ovarian cancer. Asbestos is naturally occurring and was used in ancient times, but came to sweeping popularity in the 1970s for use in construction and the automobile industry due to its fireproofing properties. 

As part of the settlement, the EPA has agreed to complete its review by December 1st, 2024 with regular updates being released every 180 days.

Asbestos exposure injury lawsuits, including those exposed to asbestos in talc products, are still currently being filed for individuals who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, cancer & other serious injuries.

Dixon, Suzanne. “List of Asbestos-Related Diseases.” Mesothelioma Center – Vital Services for Cancer Patients & Families, 14 Sept. 2021, https://www.asbestos.com/mesothelioma/related-diseases/.

Erickson, Britt E. “US EPA to Strengthen Asbestos Risk Evaluation.” Cen.acs.org, 14 Oct. 2021, https://cen.acs.org/policy/chemical-regulation/US-EPA-strengthen-asbestos-risk/99/web/2021/10.

“Final Risk Evaluation for Asbestos, Part 1: Chrysotile Asbestos.” EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, 30 Dec. 2020, https://www.epa.gov/assessing-and-managing-chemicals-under-tsca/final-risk-evaluation-asbestos-part-1-chrysotile.

King, Daniel. “The History of Asbestos – Importing, Exporting & Worldwide Use.” Mesothelioma Center – Vital Services for Cancer Patients & Families, 26 Feb. 2021, https://www.asbestos.com/asbestos/history/.

“Protect Your Family: What You Need to Know about Legacy Asbestos That Can Still Be Found in Your Homes, Schools, and Workplaces and on Consumer Shelves.” ADAO – Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, 24 Sept. 2020, https://www.asbestosdiseaseawareness.org/newsroom/blogs/protect-your-family-what-you-need-to-know-about-legacy-asbestos-that-can-still-be-found-in-your-homes-schools-and-workplaces-and-on-consumer-shelves/.



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