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EPA Administrator Indicates Legacy Uses of Mesothelioma-Causing Asbestos May be Reconsidered

With asbestos well established as the single cause of malignant mesothelioma, as well as numerous other asbestos-related diseases, there is considerable interest in the outcome of the ongoing risk evaluation being conducted under the 2016 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt raised health advocates hopes recently when, during a meeting with the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Environment Subcommittee, he indicated that the agency may be rethinking its original decision to only review “current and prospective uses.” According to Pruitt, the agency is currently discussing also including the “legacy installed” building materials that have been blamed for so many dangerous exposures in recent years.

The question of these materials that are already in place gets to the heart of health concerns about asbestos, and the risks of people who are exposed to it being diagnosed with mesothelioma at a later date. According to asbestos abatement experts, asbestos in deteriorating buildings is “the most prevalent source of asbestos exposure to the general public.” Safety concerns about the residents of those buildings, renovators, demolition specialists and those disposing of the asbestos-contaminated materials would all be ignored under the EPA’s current interpretation of the TSCA, which gives the agency renewed authority to control the use of asbestos, or even to ban it outright. When questioned about this by New Jersey’s Representative Frank Pallone, Jr., Mr. Pruitt said, “You raise a meaningful concern.” He indicated that the agency’s personnel are currently reconsidering their current stance, and may decide to include legacy uses in their review.

The TSCA was passed by Congress and signed into law in 2016 by President Barack Obama. The law provided the EPA with the ability to select chemicals that are currently in use and review their safety under new reviews based exclusively on their health impact. Though there have been attempts to ban asbestos in the past, the powerful chemical lobbies have stopped them repeatedly, thus allowing asbestos use to continue.

Eliminating asbestos use in the United States would be a major step to eradicating malignant mesothelioma in the United States. If you or someone you love has been affected by this tragic illness, we can help. Call the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today. We can be reached at  1-800-692-8608.

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer is an independent writer, editor and proofreader. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Her dreams of a writing career were diverted by a need to pay her bills. She spent a few years providing copy for a major retailer, then landed a lucrative career in advertising sales. With college bills for all three of her kids paid, she left corporate America for a return to her original goal of writing. She specializes in providing content for websites and finds tremendous enjoyment in the things she learns while doing her research. Her specific areas of interest include health and fitness, medical research, and the law.

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