Faced with significant backlash over the limited scope of its initial Risk Evaluation for Asbestos, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized plans to take a broader look at asbestos contamination in consumer goods and products. The EPA agreed to expand the scope of its ongoing asbestos risk evaluation as part of an agreement last year to settle two lawsuits, both of which alleged that the agency failed to adequately assess the public health risks associated with all asbestos-containing products, including talcum powder. If you or someone you love has suffered serious adverse health outcomes allegedly caused by asbestos in talcum powder or any other asbestos exposure, contact Consumer Safety Watch today. We know how difficult it can be to stand up for your rights when dealing with significant injuries or illnesses, and we can help you pursue the compensation you and your family deserve.
Amid growing concerns about the link between asbestos exposure and cancer, the EPA has been tasked with evaluating the human health risks of asbestos under the amended Toxic Substances Control Act. Part one of the asbestos risk evaluation, published in December 2020, focused specifically on chrysotile asbestos, the only known form of asbestos still imported into the United States. While a broader asbestos assessment was not originally planned, the EPA agreed to publish a second risk evaluation by December 2024, this time dealing with “legacy” uses of asbestos and disposal of the carcinogenic mineral. In a document released late last month, the EPA laid out its plans for part two of the asbestos risk evaluation, which will look at tremolite, crocidolite, amosite, anthophyllite, actinolite, and Libby amphibole asbestos. While these types of asbestos are no longer imported into the U.S., they can be found in millions of homes, schools, and workplaces across the U.S. These so-called “legacy” uses pose a continued risk of harmful asbestos exposure, as does the disposal of asbestos-containing products, such as talc and talcum powder.
“Additionally, another commercially mined substance, talc, has been implicated as a potential source of asbestos exposure,” the EPA document states. “Talc can also be co-located geologically with asbestos, where asbestos can remain in small or trace amounts following extraction. Thus, EPA will determine the relevant conditions of use of asbestos-containing talc, including but not limited to any ‘legacy use’ and ‘associated disposal’ where asbestos is implicated.” The adverse health effects of asbestos exposure are well-documented, and while most first-world countries have had asbestos bans in place for decades, the United States has allowed the import and use of asbestos to continue. The EPA’s long-awaited decision to evaluate the health risks of all asbestos uses and associated disposals comes in the midst of the decades-long asbestos litigation, which dates back to the 1960s and is considered the longest-running mass tort litigation in U.S. history.
Fears about exposure to asbestos in consumer products have grown to a fever pitch in recent years, due in large part to thousands of talcum powder lawsuits linking Johnson & Johnson’s iconic talcum powder products to mesothelioma, ovarian cancer, and other cancers. For more than a century, talc was used in Johnson’s talcum powder, an American staple widely used by families to treat diaper rash in infants and by women for feminine hygiene purposes. And while the healthcare giant continues to insist that its talcum powder products are safe and do not contain asbestos, company documents brought to light in a 2018 Reuters article suggest that Johnson & Johnson knew for decades that its talcum powder was sometimes contaminated with cancer-causing asbestos and chose to keep that vital information from the public.
More than 40,000 Americans die every year from asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis, and scientists and public health experts agree that there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos. Sadly, asbestos can still be found in many homes and commercial buildings nationwide and also sometimes unexpectedly lurks in trusted consumer products, like talcum powder. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, ovarian cancer, or another asbestos-related disease or illness, do not hesitate to speak to a knowledgeable asbestos attorney about your legal options. Mesothelioma, asbestos exposure, and talcum powder lawsuits continue to be filed every day in courts across the country, and you don’t want to miss your chance to recover fair compensation for the harm you and your loved ones have suffered. Contact us today to find out how we can help.