Posted on August 6, 2018
This is an unusual blog for me. During the past fourteen years, I’ve truly done my best to be a diplomat, but today, I’ve laced up my boxing gloves.
Each year, nearly 40,000 Americans die from asbestos-caused diseases, yet raw asbestos imports and use continue. Enough is enough.
July was a big month for environmental and public health nonprofits throughout the nation, as the embattled EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt finally resigned on July 5. Don’t get too excited though, the new Acting EPA Administrator, Andrew Wheeler, is a former powerhouse coal lobbyist.
Let’s talk TSCA.
It wasn’t long ago that everyone, including the chemical industry, used asbestos as the poster child for the need to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976. It was abundantly clear to all lawmakers and stakeholders, that any TSCA reform legislation must enable and ensure the EPA could finally ban asbestos, or this reform would fail Americans again. Rest assured, ADAO stands with allies and colleagues in fighting to force EPA to implement TSCA according to the law. However, we face enormous obstacles with the Trump EPA at the helm. EPA’s failure to protect public health is appalling, as seen in their grossly inadequate approach to evaluating the risks of asbestos.
Here’s why …
- The EPA is relentlessly ignoring the risks of asbestos in our homes, schools, workplaces, and communities, referred to as ‘legacy’ and also the Libby Amphibole, as demonstrated in the EPA Problem Formulation of the Risk Evaluation for Asbestos document.
- EPA refuses to consider the risks of asbestos releases to the environment, including the dramatically increasing amounts of asbestos that are placed in landfills across the US.
- EPA will not evaluate all of the cancers linked to asbestos except lung cancer and will not consider serious non-cancer health effects.
- For the first time ever, the EPA has proposed a SNUR (Significant New Use Rule) which would allow for new uses of asbestos. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt even said, “At the same time, we are moving forward to take important, unprecedented action on asbestos.”
- Chlor-Alkali industry, the primary asbestos importer and user, is stockpiling hundreds of tons. Early ADAO research confirms, that between January and April 2018, the chemical industry imported 257 metric tons of raw asbestos from Brazil and Russia, which is four times greater than January-April 2017 when imports were 67 metric tons.
- American Chemistry Council (ACC) continues to tout that the Chlorine Industry has a “long history of safe use.”
- Trump is the poster child for the Russian asbestos miners and exporters. A Russian company with ties to Vladimir Putin, is praising President Trump for allowing asbestos to remain legal in the U.S. with a photo graphic and slogan saying “Approved by Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States.
ADAO has been a stakeholder in the fight to ban asbestos for 14 years. We are honored to have written legislation, been a congressional witness, and even watched President Obama sign TSCA Reform into law. Our fight is your fight. Join over 13,000 people and sign our petition pressuring the EPA to ban asbestos without any loopholes and to address the growing health threat from the pervasive presence of asbestos in buildings across the US! ADAO will submit all petition signatures to the EPA on August 8 to voice our extreme opposition to the exclusion and SNUR.