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.
- Examine all cancer and non-cancer asbestos-related diseases.
- Address any known, reasonably foreseen, or intended conditions of use of asbestos that were omitted from the first evaluation.
- Evaluate risks to human health from all exposure pathways and from ingestion, inhalation, and dermal contact with asbestos.
- Investigate asbestos exposure resulting from talc and talc-related products.
The EPA and ADAO have also entered into a consent decree to resolve the advocacy group’s May 18, 2021 lawsuit to require the Agency to carry out its obligation to evaluate the risks of “legacy” asbestos. The EPA will carry out this obligation, and those uses will be addressed in the second part of the risk evaluation.
According to Linda Reinstein, America has not yet taken the necessary steps to evaluate the risk legacy asbestos poses and protect the public from legacy asbestos. Reinstein feels that Trump’s EPA failed to address the threat of asbestos in schools, commercial buildings, factories, homes, and consumer products across America. According to Linda, the Biden EPA is now stepping up to carry out this task that is already long overdue.
Legacy asbestos is any asbestos that was used in the construction of buildings or the manufacture of products, machinery, and equipment and is now in place in schools, homes, and other structures. When it comes to legacy asbestos, processing and distribution of asbestos no longer occur. However, even though processing and distribution of asbestos no longer occur, use and disposal still happen. For example, legacy uses include asbestos-containing spray or lead pipes that were put into structures before asbestos was recognized as a health hazard.
People usually get exposed to legacy asbestos during renovations, repairs, and demolition of structures. Explosions, fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, and other natural disasters can also lead to exposure. Additionally, it is important to note that exposure can occur in any place where asbestos-containing material is present.
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If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced nationwide mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help pay for your medical treatment to help you and your family live a more comfortable life.