Rising Levels of Asbestos Imports into the United States
The United States’ importation of asbestos has increased 2,000 percent from July to August of 2018, going from 13 metric tons in July to 272 metric tons in August. With the amount of asbestos coming into the country, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is not protecting Americans as well as it should. The main focus of the EPA is to protect human health and the environment, and the EPA is continually letting a known carcinogen be brought into the country and to be used by industries in the United States.
Congress passed legislation in 2016 that overhauled the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) allowing the EPA to restrict or ban toxic substances. With this newfound power the EPA has created a list of substances that it is assessing for safety, with asbestos being one of the first 10 substances. There is a problem with the EPA addressing asbestos for safety though because under Donald Trump it will likely find asbestos to be safe and legal. In the past Trump has testified that he thinks asbestos is a safe material for construction and it is a valuable insulator and fire proofer. Asbestos companies in Russia have even put Donald Trump’s face on bags of their products stating he is a friend of the asbestos industry.
Since all asbestos mines in the United States have been closed since 2002, all asbestos that is used is imported from other countries. It is becoming more difficult to import asbestos with more countries banning it every year. The United States’ main supplier, Brazil, has even banned the substance making it impossible to receive asbestos from the country. Even with this happening imports are continuing to rise. Hopefully the United States will acknowledge the dangers of asbestos and join the majority of the world and ban the substance as well.
If you have been exposed to asbestos and now have mesothelioma or lung cancer, call 412-471-3980 or fill out our contact form to speak to an attorney and learn your options.
Alex Formuzis, “Asbestos Imports Surge as Trump White House Moves to Keep Deadly Carcinogen Legal” Environmental Working Group (October 23, 2018). [Link]