The amount of asbestos imported into the United States increased by nearly 2,000 percent between July and August this year, according to new government data analyzed by Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) and Environmental Working Group.
According to the Department of Commerce and the U.S. International Trade Commission, the U.S. imported 272 metric tons of asbestos in August, compared to 13 metric tons in July.
Legislation passed in 2016 overhauled the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), listing asbestos is one of the first 10 substances the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is assessing for safety. While the EPA has yet to decide on the safety of asbestos, recent actions from the current administration show no indication of plans to ban the cancer-causing material.
“The science is irrefutable, there is no safe level of asbestos exposure or controlled use,” said Linda Reinstein, ADAO president and co-founder. “Americans cannot identify or manage the risks of asbestos. The time is now for the EPA to say no to the asbestos industry and finally ban asbestos without exemptions.”
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data suggests that asbestos-related diseases could be killing 15,000 Americans every year, but a study from the International Commission on Occupational Health found that asbestos exposure deaths could be much higher, killing as many as 40,000 American and 255.000 worldwide per year.
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