EPA Announces New Asbestos Ban

EPA Announces New Asbestos Ban

(USNewsBreak.com) – Asbestos use in construction became controversial decades ago, particularly after medical researchers found the naturally occurring mineral increased the risks of several diseases, including cancer. Despite this, it still had a place in the chemical industry. Now, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is changing that.

On Monday, March 18, the EPA announced it was finalizing a rule that would ban chrysotile asbestos use nationwide. More than 50 countries have already prohibited the substance. Many products incorporate Chrysotile asbestos in their manufacturing process, including brake blocks, sheet and other types of gaskets, and aftermarket automotive brakes. Manufacturers have discontinued using the mineral in products. Companies last imported the mineral into the US in 2022.

The EPA noted the ban represents “a major milestone for chemical safety” and is the first rule finalized under the 2016 amendments to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Administrator Michael Regan said this was “just the beginning” and the EPA was “work[ing] to protect all American families, workers, and communities from toxic chemicals.

Many lawmakers welcomed the move and spoke out about the impact the ban will have on people in the US subject to possible asbestos exposure. The EPA has tried to ban asbestos for decades. However, a court struck down one effort in 1989, which paved the way for the 2016 TSCA amendments and this new rule.

The ban doesn’t take effect immediately. For example, the EPA is giving the chlor-alkali manufacturing sector five years to convert the diaphragms it uses to ones that don’t contain asbestos. It’s also giving those in the industry with multiple facilities from 5 to 12 years to convert them from asbestos diaphragms to non-asbestos membrane technology, allowing time for construction, permitting, parts, and specialized expertise.

Companies that use other goods containing asbestos, such as sheet gaskets, oilfield brake blocks, and vehicle friction products, will have six months to comply with the new ban.

Copyright 2024, USNewsBreak.com