States are Suing the EPA for not Protecting People from Asbestos
Eleven attorneys general are suing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for not protecting people from asbestos. Asbestos is a dangerous mineral used industrially due to its fire and heat resistant properties. Once in the air people can inhale the microscopic fibers and develop lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis. In April, the agency announced that it was restricting the material but it stopped short of completely banning it. Xavier Becerra, the attorney general from California, mentioned that asbestos is a widely known toxic and harmful material. The EPA cannot continue to ignore the dangers of asbestos and the harm it can do to people’s health. Earlier this year, the attorneys general tried to create a new rule requiring data collection about the importation and use of asbestos, but the agency denied the idea.
Officials have known for years that asbestos causes lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis, but April was the first time in 30 years that an action has been taken on it in the United States. The new rule makes it more difficult for the industry to restart already abandoned uses of asbestos, and is considered a half step toward banning the substance completely. The action was problematic because it could potentially lead to asbestos products being brought back to market. The EPA has not ruled out a complete ban on the carcinogen, and if an unreasonable risk is found, the EPA will regulate which could take the form of a ban. Many democrats have lost faith in the agency after learning that the scientists in the organization were ignored when the New Use asbestos rule was made.
States part of the suit: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington, and the District of Columbia