EPA Proposes Asbestos Ban

Many people do not realize it, but asbestos is not banned in the United States despite the fact it kills thousands of Americans each year by causing mesothelioma cancer and other forms of lung disease.

That might be about to change. The EPA has announced it intends to ban the known carcinogen using new authority granted to the agency by the 2016 Toxic Substances Control Act. On Tuesday, April 5, 2022, the EPA announced that it will move forward with an asbestos ban.

The EPA last attempted to ban asbestos in 1989, but a federal court shot the effort down, an escapade that highlighted the toothlessness of the original 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act. Similar attempts in Congress also sputtered, most recently in 2020, when the bipartisan measure nearly made it to the House floor before falling apart with competing accusations about who was responsible for the failure.

“EPA’s proposed rule is a strong step forward in eliminating exposure to a substance that is killing 40,000 Americans each year,” Linda Reinstein, president of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, said in a statement.

Under the proposed rule, the agency would ban uses for chrysotile, the one remaining type of asbestos fiber still in use in the United States. One of the major current uses for asbestos in America is the chlorine manufacturing process. In 2021, chemical companies imported 100 tons of chrysotile asbestos from Brazil. In prior years, they also imported from Russia. The 11 active chemical plants that utilize asbestos also used around 220 tons of asbestos they had previously stockpiled. Other chemical plants no longer use asbestos in the chlorine manufacturing process.

Under EPA’s proposed rule, the remaining chlorine plants that still import raw asbestos would have two years to stop using asbestos filters.

Sheet gaskets that contain asbestos would be banned after two years. Most remaining products that contain asbestos — oilfield brake blocks, aftermarket automotive brakes and linings, other “vehicle friction products,” and other types of commercial gaskets — would be banned after 180 days.

The proposed asbestos ban is set to be published in the Federal Register, which kicks off a 60-day public comment period. The Biden administration hopes to have the ban finalized by November.

The ban isn’t the end of the EPA’s review of asbestos, however. The agency says it intends to look at other asbestos fibers as well as examine asbestos present in talcum powder products, which has caused even those who never worked around asbestos to develop mesothelioma. Asbestos and talc often are located near one another in the natural environment, which can cause contamination in products like baby powder and cosmetics. These asbestos victims are often younger than the blue-collar workers exposed through the late 1970s at their job sites.

RPWB lawyers have helped thousands of mesothelioma patients nationwide get financial compensation from asbestos manufacturers since 1976, when we worked on the first successful product liability case against the asbestos companies. We have seen first-hand the devastating health effects caused by asbestos, and applaud all efforts to eliminate asbestos from the United States.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another form of asbestos-caused lung cancer, please give us a call anytime at 1-866-594-8765 or fill out the contact form on this page.

For more information about mesothelioma, please visit our Mesothelioma Info Center.

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    Asbestos Awareness Week Shines Light on Mesothelioma, a Cancer that Continues to Devastate

    The first week of April 2022 is Asbestos Awareness Week in the United States. Members of both houses of Congress unanimously approved resolutions making the designation.

    Once ubiquitous in worksites and homes throughout the country, we are still experiencing the negative health effects of asbestos decades after its peak use. Mesothelioma, the insidious cancer caused by asbestos, can take up to 50 years to manifest. When it does, many patients have less than two years to live, although we have seen some promising new treatments recently.

    For more than 40 years, lawyers at RPWB have worked on behalf of mesothelioma patients to get them the financial compensation they deserve from asbestos manufacturers who knew about the health consequences of the products they were selling.

    It is difficult and heartbreaking to see the men and women who built this great country die from mesothelioma due to the negligence of companies that put profits over people by hiding the ugly truth about asbestos.

    While we still see a great number of cases from older people who worked in asbestos-laden industrial worksites through the 1970s, we are now also litigating cases involving much younger individuals who have developed mesothelioma from talcum powder use. This includes young mothers and otherwise healthy people who face a very dire mesothelioma prognosis at the prime of their lives.

    Sadly, asbestos and the health consequences of it will still be with us for many more years. Contrary to common belief, asbestos is not banned in the United States and many products still contain talcum powder, which is derived from a mineral that often co-exists with asbestos in the environment.

    As asbestos lawyers, we focus on helping mesothelioma patients and their families maximize the financial compensation they get from asbestos companies that manufactured the products that caused the cancer.

    Our role as mesothelioma lawyers, however, goes beyond that.

    We hold asbestos companies responsible for the human suffering they caused for many decades, even after they knew about the devastating health consequences. It is never acceptable to value profits more than the health and well-being of people. The asbestos industry is rightfully the poster child for what happens when we do. We hope that our work will deter other types of manufacturers from producing products they know to be harmful.

    This Asbestos Awareness Week, we are remembering the thousands of mesothelioma victims we have helped in our 45-year history. We remain as committed to helping mesothelioma patients today as we did back in 1976, when our founding member Charles Patrick worked on the first successful product liability lawsuit against asbestos companies.

    We hope you never need our services, but we stand ready to assist you if you do. If you receive a mesothelioma diagnosis, give us a call anytime at 1-866-594-8765 or fill out the form on this website. In most cases, we are available to meet with you at your home or another comfortable place within just a few days of calling.

    To learn more about mesothelioma, please visit our Mesothelioma Info Center here.

    Here is the full text of the Asbestos Awareness Week Resolution:


    Designating the first week of April 2022 as ‘‘National Asbestos Awareness Week’’.

    Whereas dangerous asbestos fibers are invisible and cannot be smelled or tasted;

    Whereas the inhalation of airborne asbestos fibers can cause significant damage;

    Whereas asbestos fibers can cause cancer, such as mesothelioma, asbestosis, and other health problems;

    Whereas symptoms of asbestos-related diseases can take between 10 and 50 years to present themselves;

    Whereas the projected life expectancy for an individual diagnosed with mesothelioma is between 6 and 24 months;

    Whereas little is known about late-stage treatment of asbestos-related diseases, and there is no cure for those diseases;

    Whereas early detection of asbestos-related diseases might give some patients increased treatment options and might improve the prognoses of those patients;

    Whereas, although the consumption of asbestos within the United States has been substantially reduced, the United States continues to consume tons of the fibrous mineral each year for use in certain products;

    Whereas thousands of people in the United States have died from asbestos-related diseases, and thousands more die every year from those diseases;

    Whereas, although individuals continue to be exposed to asbestos, safety measures relating to, and the prevention of, asbestos exposure have significantly reduced the incidence of asbestos-related diseases and can further reduce the incidence of those diseases;

    Whereas thousands of workers in the United States face significant asbestos exposure, which has been a cause of occupational cancer;

    Whereas a significant percentage of victims of asbestos-related diseases were exposed to asbestos on naval ships and in shipyards;

    Whereas asbestos was used in the construction of a significant number of office buildings and public facilities built before 1975;

    Whereas people in the small community of Libby, Montana, suffer from asbestos-related diseases, including mesothelioma, at a significantly higher rate than people in the United States as a whole; and

    Whereas the designation of a ‘‘National Asbestos Awareness Week’’ will raise public awareness about the prevalence of asbestos-related diseases and the dangers of asbestos exposure: Now, therefore, be it

    Resolved, That the Senate—

    1. designates the first week of April 2022 as ‘‘National Asbestos Awareness Week’’;
    2. urges the Surgeon General to warn and educate people about the public health issue of asbestos exposure, which may be hazardous to their health; and
    3. respectfully requests that the Secretary of the Senate transmit a copy of this resolution to the Office of the Surgeon General.

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