A Complete Asbestos Ban Could be Coming
The EPA’s new use asbestos rule could be just the start of asbestos regulation in the United States. The substance could soon be completely banned throughout the country. In 2016 the Toxic Substances Control Act was changed, tasking the EPA with creating a process for regulating asbestos use in domestic and imported consumer products. With this new regulation though, congress may have opened the door for increased asbestos use.
It was announced that the most recent significant new use rule enacted by the EPA would close a dangerous loophole regarding asbestos coming into the country. Due to a decades old law, discontinued uses of asbestos were beyond the EPA’s oversight. The new ruling now forces manufacturers to seek EPA approval before continuing to manufacture or import asbestos containing products, going through a formal review process. This will potentially close the door on the majority of unapproved asbestos uses.
Some experts would like the EPA to completely ban asbestos based products to prevent asbestos from slipping through the regulatory system. It would also help to prevent industries from using the carcinogen, protecting people from being exposed in the first place. More than 60 countries have banned asbestos, but the United States is not one of them.
Another problem is that the EPA cannot enforce a total ban on asbestos. It only has the power to ban specific types of products or review products on a case by case basis. It can, however, suggest a complete ban of the material to Congress. The EPA can use its power to enact an informal ban while congress works to create an official ban.