The federal government often works at a snail’s pace when it comes to health and safety regulations. Efforts have been slowed even more by various administrations over the years that have sided with powerful business interests to advocate for less rather than more regulation. Advocates seeking a complete ban on asbestos by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have been stymied in their efforts for many years.
The EPA took one small step at the end of 2021 with its publication of a final risk evaluation on which it’s seeking public comment by Feb. 14 of this year. The evaluation, which addressed “legacy” asbestos and disposal, concludes – not surprisingly – that it can present an unreasonable risk to those who are exposed to it in the workplace.
Specifically, the evaluation, published at the end of last year in the Federal Register, looks at “conditions of use for which manufacture (including import), processing and distribution of commerce no longer occur, but where use and disposal are still known, intended or reasonably foreseen to occur (e.g., asbestos in older buildings).”
The second installment is considered more “robust and comprehensive”
This first installment of the EPA’s risk evaluation focused on chrysotile, which is the most commonly used type of asbestos fiber. The nonprofit group Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) called it “piecemeal and dangerously incomplete.”
This second installment looks at other types of fibers as well as talc. As the EPA notes, talc “has been implicated as a potential source of asbestos exposure.”
The ADAO’s co-founder and president, whose late husband suffered from mesothelioma, expressed more satisfaction with this installment, saying that it provides a “robust and comprehensive evaluation of legacy asbestos that can be found in millions of homes, schools and workplaces.”
The deadline for publication of the final version of the evaluation isn’t until Dec. 2024. Therefore, anyone looking for significant movement in the effort to address the problem of legacy asbestos isn’t going to find it with this latest evaluation.
If you or a loved one is suffering from an asbestos-related disease, you know the importance of having access to the latest and most effective treatments. With experienced legal guidance, you can work to seek compensation that will help you and your family deal with the expenses.