Despite the fact that asbestos’ role in mesothelioma and other diseases is well established, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has introduced a new rule that will make it more likely that the carcinogen will once again be used in manufacturing in the United States. Though this decision has been haled by those in the chemical industry, it has raised red flags for health advocates, who fear that it will lead to a rise in the number of asbestos-related diseases suffered by American citizens.
It has been nearly 50 years since the EPA revealed to the American public that asbestos causes mesothelioma, a rare and fatal form of cancer, as well as asbestosis, asbestos-related lung cancer, and other dangerous conditions. Though many had hoped that the carcinogen’s use would be entirely banned, the Trump administration has proven to be more open to the interests of chemical companies, Under the newly-enacted Significant New Use Rule (SNUR), new products containing asbestos will be permitted pending case-by-case review, and that review will no longer consider the effect or presence of substances in the air, ground or water in its risk assessment. Those previously-used assessments were specifically oriented towards protecting human health and the environment.
The actions being taken by the EPA seem like a step backwards to many, particularly in light of new data that reported global asbestos-related deaths from conditions like mesothelioma reaching 40000 per year. If more asbestos starts to be used in new buildings or other products, that number could rise. In the face of the federal government taking a step backwards in terms of responsibility and attention to safety, health advocates are turning their attention to local and state governments and consumers to make their concerns heard and to take protective action.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or if you or someone in your family has been affected by an asbestos-related disease, this change should raise alarm bells for you. For more information on asbestos and resources available to you, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.