U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Enacts Landmark Ban on Carcinogenic Asbestos

Asbestos

In the corridors of Washington, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sealed the decree on Monday, solidifying a regulation that outright prohibits the utilization and importation of carcinogenic asbestos—a substance still finding its way into select automobiles and industrial complexes across the nation. This prohibition marks the inaugural instance of a chemical being barred under the auspices of a 2016 chemical safety legislation.

The ban specifically targets chrysotile asbestos, the solitary variant of asbestos presently in use or being brought into the United States. This milestone comes on the heels of a protracted deferment in banning the substance during the tenure of the preceding Trump administration.

EPA Administrator Michael Regan articulated, “The empirical evidence is irrefutable—asbestos stands as a confirmed carcinogen, exerting profound ramifications on public well-being. It is with resolute pride that the EPA finalizes this imperative prohibition on the ongoing utilization of asbestos.”

This proscription echoes similar actions undertaken by more than 50 nations worldwide, where asbestos has already been banished. Furthermore, its utilization in the United States has been on a steady decline, with a majority of consumer-oriented industries ceasing its incorporation into their processes.

As recently as 2022, unprocessed chrysotile asbestos found ingress into the U.S. for utilization within the chlor-alkali sector. Here, asbestos diaphragms are fabricated for the production of sodium hydroxide and chlorine—crucial components in the disinfection of potable water and wastewater. Eight such facilities persist within U.S. borders.

Additionally, asbestos is integral to the fabrication of post-market automotive braking systems, linings, and analogous vehicular friction components, alongside serving as a constituent in sheet gaskets.

Exposure to asbestos has been unequivocally correlated with instances of lung carcinoma, mesothelioma, ovarian carcinoma, and laryngeal carcinoma. The EPA underscores that this announcement aligns with President Joe Biden’s Cancer Moonshot initiative—a concerted effort aimed at eradicating cancer.

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