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Finalized Ban on Asbestos: Timeline

As of March 18th, 2024, the ban on asbestos will be permanent. The Environmental Protection Agency explains that this will “prohibit ongoing uses of chrysotile asbestos, the only known form of asbestos currently used in or imported to the United States”. There are still an estimated “3,000 different products” that contain asbestos ranging from construction materials to vinyl flooring in homes. Although the connection of asbestos exposure has been recognized to cause illnesses such as mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer, and others, it has only been partially banned until this announcement.

 

Partial Ban of 1989

This ban included “the manufacture, import, processing, and distribution of some asbestos-containing products” (“EPA Actions to Protect the Public from Exposure to Asbestos | US EPA”). In addition to this, in August of this same year, the Environmental Protection Agency also banned “new uses of asbestos which prevent new asbestos products from entering the marketplace”. This then led the mineral to be further investigated.

Risk Evaluation of 2020

After decades of damage to individuals affected by asbestos, the Environmental Protection Agency began to evaluate the mineral. They reviewed it following the Toxic Substances Control Act to determine its effects on the environment as well as the individuals working with and surrounded by the mineral. It was discovered that while the environment did not face any harm, the individuals who worked with the asbestos were developing extreme health issues. Interestingly, the mineral was also harmful to individuals working near asbestos without direct contact were still facing health-related issues (“Final Risk Evaluation for Asbestos, Part 1: Chrysotile Asbestos | US EPA”). The Environmental Protection Agency then deciphered asbestos as a “Risk to workers and occupational non-users” through “the inhalation of chrysotile asbestos”.

 

Proposed Ban on Asbestos of 2022

After two years of evaluation, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed a ban on the mineral. More specifically, this proposed ban was eager to “prohibit manufacture (including import), processing, distribution in commerce, and commercial use of chrysotile asbestos for ongoing uses of chrysotile asbestos” (“EPA Actions to Protect the Public from Exposure to Asbestos | US EPA”). This was a means to protect future individuals and families impacted by asbestos but does not resolve the current estimated “1.3 million employees in construction and general industry” who work with the mineral each year. Unfortunately, this proposed ban is also taking place after the “estimated 27 million workers” who were exposed to asbestos in the years between 1940-1979 (“Asbestos Toxicity: Who Is at Risk of Exposure to Asbestos? | Environmental Medicine | ATSDR”). However, justice has finally been served to future civilians.

 

Finalized Ban on Asbestos of 2024

March 2024 marks the final and long-awaited ban on asbestos. This eliminates asbestos fibers from being imported and used in the United States. Unfortunately, the United States will be one of the last nations to put a complete ban on asbestos as “55 nations have banned asbestos” (Nation), with the last being countries like Russia and Canada. Additionally, The New York Times claims the ban would allow companies 12 years to “phase out the use of asbestos in manufacturing, depending on the facility”. It is important to mention that while chrysotile asbestos is being banned, other types of asbestos will be allowed and regulated following the Environmental Protection Agency’s notice and approval.

If you or someone you know has been affected by asbestos exposure or mesothelioma in the state of Pennsylvania, please visit The Halpern Law firm for a free consultation or call 1 (800) 505-6000 to turn today’s adversity into tomorrow’s justice.

Sources:

  • “Biden-Harris Administration Finalizes Ban on Ongoing Uses of Asbestos to Protect People from Cancer | US EPA.” US EPA, 18 Mar. 2024,  https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/biden-harris-administration-finalizes-ban-ongoing-uses-asbestos-protect-people-cancer#:~:text=WASHINGTON%20%E2%80%93%20Today%2C%20March%2018%2C,imported%20to%20the%20United%20States. Accessed 25 Mar. 2024.

By Ashley Navarrete

 

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