Mesothelioma victims and advocates are expressing satisfaction after a settlement was reached between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and a coalition of U.S. states and asbestos advocates. The settlement marks the end of a contentious legal battle over increased asbestos reporting.
EPA Agrees to Asbestos Usage Reporting
Despite asbestos being the carcinogen known to be responsible for malignant mesothelioma and a host of other serious and deadly diseases, the chemical industry has pushed back against having to report on certain uses of the toxic material. The Environmental Protection Agency under the Trump administration was similarly reluctant to comply, and following the agency’s refusal to consider a petition to close reporting loopholes in 2017, the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization and several states’ attorneys general and the District of Columbia joined forces to challenge their decision.
In December of 2020 U.S. District Court Judge Edward Chen sided with the asbestos advocates, finding that under the Toxic Substances Control Act the EPA was required to consider ‘reasonably available information’ when conducting risk assessments on hazardous chemical substances and that ‘despite the strong enforcement powers at its disposal and the importance of complete and adequate information, the EPA, in this instance, has declined to collect all reasonably available information concerning the risks posed by asbestos conditions of use.’
EPA Withdraws Objection to Judge’s Ruling
Mesothelioma advocates are hailing the newest developments in the case as a victory, noting that under the Biden administration the EPA dropped their motion arguing that Judge Chen had overstepped his authority and instead agreed to a settlement under which it will restart the rulemaking process regarding their reporting of asbestos usage. Commenting on the settlement, California Attorney General Rob Bonta indicated that it was long overdue and called asbestos “an environmental injustice and public health tragedy.”
If you or someone you love has been affected by asbestos and you need information on the resources available to you, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.