A new proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would begin legally allowing new products containing asbestos to be created on a case-by-case basis. The new rule would create a framework for evaluating the risk of top prioritized substances, and would no longer consider the effect or presence of substances in the air, ground, or water in its risk assessments.
Environmental advocates are concerned that the new rule would allow chemical companies to create new uses for asbestos and other harmful products in the United States. Under the rule, the EPA exposures from abandoned uses of the cancer-causing material would no longer be reviewed.
Asbestos is a naturally-occurring fibrous mineral which is among the most fire-retardant and water-resistant materials ever discovered. Unfortunately, it was also found to be highly toxic. When asbestos fibers are released into the air and inhaled by workers, they remain in the lungs for many years, where they ultimately can cause deadly diseases like mesothelioma.
The proposed rule for asbestos use is available for public comment until August 10.
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