EPA Proposes Plan to Ban Chrysotile Asbestos in the U.S.

Following decades of research linking asbestos exposure to ovarian cancer, mesothelioma, and other serious health risks, and hundreds of thousands of asbestos exposure lawsuits filed in courts across the country, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finally proposed a plan that would prohibit the ongoing use of the only known form of asbestos still imported into the United States – chrysotile asbestos. Despite the known carcinogenic effects of the mineral, chrysotile asbestos is still used in a variety of applications in the U.S., a controversial practice the EPA’s plan proposes to eliminate. If you or someone you love was diagnosed with cancer following exposure to asbestos from Johnson & Johnson talcum powder or another consumer product, don’t hesitate to contact Consumer Safety Watch. You may be entitled to damages for your medical expenses and other losses, which a reputable asbestos cancer attorney can help you pursue.

Human Health Risks of Exposure to Asbestos

Asbestos has been banned in more than 60 countries and its use has been heavily restricted in the U.S. since the 1980s. The EPA instituted a comprehensive asbestos ban and phase-out plan in the U.S. in 1989, but a 1991 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals largely overturned the ban and undermined the EPA’s authority under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to address risks to human health from asbestos and other potentially harmful chemicals. Currently, the only form of asbestos imported, processed, or distributed for use in the U.S. is chrysotile asbestos, the most common form of asbestos. Before the 1980s, chrysotile asbestos was used in many building and construction materials, and it can still be found in the roofs, walls, floors, and ceilings of older homes and businesses across the country. According to the EPA, raw chrysotile asbestos currently imported into the U.S. is used exclusively by the chlor-alkali industry, which is the principal source of chlorine.

In response to decades of evidence linking asbestos to cancer, the EPA on April 5, 2022, proposed a ban on chrysotile asbestos in the U.S. According to the EPA, the proposed rule would ban the use of the toxic mineral, which is frequently found in products like aftermarket automotive brakes/linings, brake blocks, asbestos diaphragms, sheet gaskets, other vehicle friction products, and other gaskets imported into the U.S. “Today, we’re taking an important step forward to protect public health and finally put an end to the use of dangerous asbestos in the United States,” stated EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “This historic proposed ban would protect the American people from exposure to chrysotile asbestos, a known carcinogen, and demonstrates significant progress in our work to implement the TSCA law and take bold, long-overdue actions to protect those most vulnerable among us.”

Proposed Prohibition on Asbestos in U.S.

To address the considerable risk to human health, the EPA’s asbestos ban would prohibit the “manufacture (including import), processing, distribution in commerce, and commercial use of chrysotile asbestos for six categories of chrysotile asbestos-containing products: asbestos diaphragms, sheet gaskets, oilfield brake blocks, aftermarket automotive brakes and linings, other vehicle friction products, and other gaskets,” the EPA notes in its proposal. “The proposed prohibition on the manufacture, processing, and distribution in commerce will also address consumer exposure to chrysotile asbestos.”

Asbestos in Popular Talcum Powder, Other Products

There is no safe level of exposure to asbestos, and all types of asbestos, including chrysotile, are classified as cancer-causing substances by the EPA, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). In addition to addressing the potential human health risks associated with exposure to chrysotile asbestos, the EPA states that it is also evaluating other types of toxic asbestos fibers, as well as asbestos legacy uses and associated disposals, and conditions of use of asbestos in talc and talc-containing products. Talc is a naturally occurring mineral used in powder form in many beauty and personal care products sold to consumers in the U.S., including Johnson & Johnson talcum powder, which was removed from the market in the U.S. in July 2021. Johnson & Johnson recalled 33,000 bottles of its talcum powder in October 2019, after The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found traces of chrysotile asbestos in a bottle purchased from an online retailer, which may have exposed users to an increased risk of ovarian cancer, mesothelioma, and other potentially life-threatening cancers.

Contact Consumer Safety Watch Today for Help

If you or someone you know developed cancer after being exposed to asbestos in Johnson’s talcum powder or another asbestos-containing product, contact us today to find out how we can help. With a knowledgeable asbestos cancer attorney on your side, you may be able to recover the compensation you deserve for the losses you have sustained as a result of your asbestos exposure.

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