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Last Updated on January 20, 2020
Asbestos is no longer the most sought after building materials in many countries. This is after it emerged that it causes cancer. But in the United States, Asbestos is still being used. It is one of the minerals that is used to make household products. Even though there is sufficient evidence showing that exposure to asbestos causes cancer. The proof that the materials cause cancer was availed in the 1970s. As a result, the federal agencies took several steps all meant to help protect the environment.
Attempts to ban asbestos
Asbestos was linked to diseases like mesothelioma in the 1960s. Dr. Irving Selikoff provided evidence that could be used to ban its use. The evidence was sufficient to counter the politics and influence of asbestos. In 1980, NIOSH announced that exposure to asbestos could cause asbestos-related diseases.
A few legislations were passed in the 1970s and 80s. They classified asbestos as a toxic and hazardous substance. So it was intended to place restrictions on the use of asbestos.
EPA issued an asbestos ban phase out rule in 1989. The objective of the rule was to plan to ban the manufacturing and importation of asbestos. It was also intended to ban the processing or importing of products containing asbestos. But the legislation did not yield any results due to a counterattack from the industry. Also, there was an outcry of economic consequences and job loss outcry that led to a lawsuit against EPA. In the ruling, the judge said that EPA did not demonstrate that the ban was a less burdensome option. EPA did not appeal the verdict.
The EPA determined the following products as those that were not fit for use.
- Commercial paper
- Flooring felt
- Especially paper
- Corrugated paper
- Commercial paper
- Spray applied asbestos.
The use of asbestos in the above 6 areas was banned. However, people are free to use other asbestos products like a gasket, fireproof clothing, and roofing.
This ruling was an oversight. It has formed a strong precedent that has undermined the agencies’ efforts to ban other dangerous chemicals. It means that EPA’s hands are tied and there is nothing it can do to ban asbestos. Only a few types of product manufacturers have been restricted from using asbestos.
In 2002, Murray, Calif, and Boer attempted to introduce another bill to ban asbestos. But it was blocked in the congress. Another bill to ban asbestos was introduced in 2007. Unfortunately, this too was mutilated. The bill that finally ended up on the Senate floor could only ban asbestos material.
So far, over 50 nations have banned the use of asbestos. Unfortunately, this is not the case in the United States. Millions of people are still exposed to substances that cause cancer and other fatal illnesses.
The U.S. continues to import and use asbestos to manufacture products. Thus, there is no plan to stop the use of products containing asbestos any time soon. In countries such as Brazil and Russia, there is increasing use of asbestos products. It means that many people will continue getting exposed to its hazards. Millions of people are likely to suffer from asbestos-based diseases in the years to come. For more details, consult the nearest Asbestos Lawyer.