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EPA Proposes Banning Chrysotile Asbestos

The Environmental Protection Agency recently proposed banning the use, manufacture and import of Chrysotile asbestos, the most ubiquitous type of asbestos. The landmark proposal intending to restrict asbestos, signals the first time the federal government has moved towards meaningful regulation since 1989.

EPA Administrator, Michael S. Regan states, “This historic proposed ban would protect the American people from exposure to chrysotile asbestos, a known carcinogen.” He added that the agency will “take bold, long-overdue actions to protect those most vulnerable among us.”

Chrysotile is the only type of asbestos currently imported, processed or distributed for use in the U.S. and is utilized most predominantly by the chlor-alkali industry in the production of chlorine. Notably, the type of asbestos associated with contaminating talc-based products is tremolite and anthophyllite, not chrysotile.

Although advocates continue to demand a complete ban of all forms of asbestos, many consider the EPA’s proposed rule a step in the right direction and a welcome shift from the Trump Administration. According to Dr. Raja M. Flores, the chairman for the department of thoracic surgery at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, “Having been on this battlefield for decades, I’m happy they’re finally banning something.”

The EPA’s proposal will be open to public comment for 60 days once published in the Federal Register. The Biden administration hopes to finalize it by November.

For more information regarding the EPA’s proposal, including a history of asbestos regulation and its impact on various industries, please see:

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/05/climate/epa-asbestos-ban.html

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