What is the EPA Doing?

Asbestos is in the news again, and not because "Dirty Laundry" has changed the way the world thinks about it, or because another magazine decided it was marketable to joke about asbestos. 

No. This is not the kind of news we were hoping for. But that's confusing, because it seems like it would be great news according to a press release from the EPA. 

The EPA has said they want to set up a structure to prevent or allow "new uses" of asbestos in the United States under their approval. 

Sounds great! Right?... 

These actions provide the American people with transparency and an opportunity to comment on how EPA plans to evaluate the ten chemicals undergoing risk evaluation, select studies, and use the best available science to ensure chemicals in the marketplace are safe.  At the same time, we are moving forward to take important, unprecedented action on asbestos.
— Scott Pruitt, EPA Administrator, June 1, 2018

Well, sort of. 

If you want to go read everything for yourself, you can. Just follow all the links. I'll do my best to summarize. 

Last year, the Trump administration and the now former head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, looked to re-interpret what the phrase 'conditions of use' meant for chemicals regulated under the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976, TSCA. Which helps determine what the government considers  a safe level of exposure to the list of chemicals included in the act. 

This was done to reverse action made by both bipartisan support of the Legislature and the Obama Administration, that would have further regulated these chemicals and limited the public's exposure to them. 

Your can read the EPA proposal of the Significant New Use Rule (SNUR) on the use of asbestos here

To my understanding, the EPA wants to have a review period to determine what uses of Asbestos are safe to the public. 

DESPITE the American Cancer Society's conclusion that Asbestos causes Cancer. 

There is no “safe” type of asbestos in terms of lung cancer risk.
— American Cancer Society

The only way this could be read as good news is if we knew for certain that the EPA is wanting to ban all use of Asbestos from the US. Or that the Trump administration would support banning asbestos. But that's most likely not the aim of this proposal nor the opinion of the Trump administration. 

This is admittedly a very heavy handed ask. But something can be done. 

The allotted time for public comment open until August 16, 2018. Visit here to comment on the EPA's study and tell the EPA what you think about Asbestos and how it should be classified.

We can't get this movie out for public viewing soon enough! 

- Bryan 

 

 

Conor B Lewis