Mesothelioma advocates are criticizing EPA decisions as the agency announces another delay in its evaluation of asbestos and its potential for harm. Blaming the challenges created by the global pandemic, EPA chief Andrew Wheeler informed the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee that it would not be able to meet the statutory deadline of June 22nd for the release of its final evaluation.
Senator Criticizes EPA Review of Mesothelioma-Causing Mineral
One of the chemicals slated for review this year is asbestos, the mineral that causes malignant mesothelioma, and the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency said that they are working to “make sure we get them right.” The review is aimed at determining the potential for the chemicals scheduled to be reviewed to unduly injure people or the environment.
But Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon), a member of the senate committee, says that is not what is happening. He specifically criticized the EPA’s failure to do a comprehensive review of all of the types of asbestos that have been associated with mesothelioma and other illnesses. The EPA had elected to only review the risks of chrysotile asbestos, leaving out the others that had previously been recognized by the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act. The EPA also elected to leave out analysis of asbestos’ risks to air, waste and drinking water. “Meeting the deadline is one thing. But meeting the deadline and actually doing the work with integrity is another,” he said.
Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization Also Expresses Disappointment
The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization similarly criticized the choices being made by the EPA, and expressed concern that more people would end up being affected by malignant mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses as a result. The organization is seeking a ban on asbestos. ADAO President Linda Reinstein said, “Under Donald Trump’s EPA, our comments and docket submissions regarding asbestos have fallen on deaf ears. This was made undeniably obvious by the release of the draft Risk Evaluation for Asbestos, which contains significant flaws and deadly exclusions.”
She continued, “For nearly four years, ADAO and other stakeholders have urged EPA to use the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act to ban asbestos in the United States. The risks of asbestos have been well-documented for decades. As it stands, the draft risk evaluation the EPA has proposed will perpetuate the dangers of asbestos and undermine the chance for the national ban on asbestos the nation desperately needs.”
If you have been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma or need more information about asbestos-related diseases, the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net can help. Call us at 1-800-692-8608 for more information.