Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that has been used in numerous products and applications. Over time as asbestos products undergo routine maintenance or even normal wear and tear, asbestos fibers in those products become disturbed. Once the microscopic fibers are released and subsequently inhaled, the insidious fibers work their way into the lining of the lungs, abdomen, heart, and in rare cases, the testicles.
The United States no longer mines or manufactures asbestos itself however the US still imports the mineral. Approximately 95% of all the asbestos imported into the US came by way of Brazil but following an asbestos ban last year in Brazil, Russia has become America's number one asbestos supplier.
The New York Times reported that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has pushed through a measure to review new applications for using asbestos in consumer facing products. According to internal emails at the EPA, the measure was passed despite the objections of the agency's own in-house attorneys and scientists.
The new EPA proposal utilizes the SNUR ("Significant New-Use Rule)," a provision in the Toxic Substances Control Act that mandates EPA approval when a dangerous chemical is being used in a significantly new manner. The new rule explicitly allows for new uses of the extremely dangerous mineral on the condition that the EPA first approves the use case.
Susan Fairchild, an environmental scientist with the EPA since 1991, objected to the agency's new stance on asbestos, stating that "under the EPA's approach, if the agency failed to correctly anticipate some other new use then it seems to me that the manufacture of such a product would not be subject to the new-use rule." Given the EPA's dubious record of regulating large chemical companies and manufacturers the new proposal may carry many dangerous and unintended consequences.
Perhaps almost as concerning as the desire to open the door to new consumer uses of asbestos, the EPA has proposed a new way of evaluating the risk of deadly asbestos exposure. In a paper that the agency itself published entitled, Problem Formulation of the Risk Evaluation for Asbestos,the EPA lays the foundation for its methodology in evaluating new use cases. Very worryingly, their approach will not include any information from existing or "legacy" sources despite the exhaustive body of work already done on asbestos related health risks.
The Paul Law Firm advocates for victims of asbestos-related diseases. If you or a loved one is suffering from mesothelioma, call the Paul Law Firm. With over 2.5 billion dollars collected for victims of asbestos exposure, we have the knowledge and the experience to fight for you. We also understand that fighting doesn't just happen in the courtroom. It also happens in a lab where we are fighting for a cure. Check out the Mesothelioma Research Foundation of America here.
Call us today at 1-855 88 LEGAL (885-3425) or contact us online to discuss your case with one of our experienced mesothelioma lawyers