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Across separate settlements, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) commits to accelerate and strengthen asbestos risk reevaluation under the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA). On October 13, 2021, the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), an organization dedicated to preventing asbestos exposure, said that the organization and its allies had reached settlements with EPA regarding the toxic mineral that causes mesothelioma. These settlements come after a heated legal battle over a contentious risk assessment. ADAO and its allies have been pushing for a comprehensive second risk evaluation for asbestos for some time now and are glad they struck these settlements with the EPA. According to the president and co-founder of ADAO, Linda Reinstein, a more robust and comprehensive evaluation will better document the massive harm asbestos continues to cause in America.

As per the deal, the Environmental Protection Agency will finish the second risk assessment by December 1, 2024. The second risk evaluation is expected to address the deficiencies in the first risk evaluation. In an agreement, the EPA agreed to, among other things;

  • Expand its second risk evaluation to include all six asbestos fiber types instead of only chrysotile asbestos.

According to NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio, repair and re-occupation of buildings damaged by Hurricane Ida is essential to the public health, economic well-being, and safety of New York City. In an attempt to help NYC repair damage caused by Hurricane Ida, Mayor Bill De Blasio, in early September, declared free asbestos removal services in New York. Emergency Executive Order No. 235, signed on September 7, 2021, retroactively dated the fee waivers back to September 1, 2021. On top of waiving fees for asbestos removal, Mayor Bill De Blasio waived the 7-day advance notice requirement for asbestos projects. For an applicant to be deemed eligible for suspension of the fees, they only needed to submit a certification that such work was due to storm damage. Normally, NYC requires submission of asbestos abatement permits and workplace safety plans one week before work starts. Emergency Executive Order No. 235 took effect on September 7 and remained in effect for five days.

The waiver of asbestos fees was meant to relieve an additional burden for property owners who were already dealing with storm damage. NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio recognized that property owners would require permits, inspections, document filings, and applications associated with repair work as part of the recovery after Hurricane Ida. So, in an attempt to help property owners, the mayor allowed the Department of Environmental Protection to waive fees related to asbestos removal. On the other hand, the Department of Buildings was given the power to waive fees associated with construction document filing fees, electrical permits, special fees, and permit filing fees.

More Tools and Recommendations for Communities Cleaning up After Hurricane Ida

Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer that begins in the lining of the chest, lungs, or abdominal cavities. According to the American Cancer Society, the leading cause of mesothelioma is asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a highly toxic and naturally occurring mineral that was widely used in construction and other industries until the late 1990s.

After a mesothelioma diagnosis, an individual may feel devastated and overwhelmed. Usually, after a mesothelioma diagnosis, people do not know what to do. The many questions that run through an individual’s mind after they get diagnosed with mesothelioma often make it hard for a person to take positive steps to cope with the diagnosis. Therefore, it is important for an individual to focus on the actions to take after a mesothelioma diagnosis so they can be able to move forward. Indeed, there may be a lot a person needs to do after a mesothelioma diagnosis. However, it helps to focus on one step at a time.

The order can vary, but, among others, below are five crucial steps to take after a mesothelioma diagnosis.

Whenever a hurricane season approaches, people within hurricane-prone regions of the United States of America prepare by stocking up on food supplies, gasoline resources, water, and materials to strengthen and protect homes. While stocking up on all of these is important, preparing to deal with the risk of asbestos exposure once a storm has passed is equally important. Unfortunately, many people do not know about the threat of asbestos exposure after a hurricane.

Why is Asbestos a Threat After a Natural Disaster?

Asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral that is heat-, electricity-, and corrosion-resistant, was used throughout most of the 20th century in countless construction materials. These materials are considered safe as long as they remain in good condition and undisturbed. When asbestos-contaminated materials degrade over time, they may become damaged due to a number of forces such as renovation and unexpected natural disasters like hurricanes. Natural disasters such as hurricanes can damage asbestos-containing materials in buildings in ways that lead to asbestos exposure among homeowners, first responders, and cleanup crews.

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