EPA OVERTURNED – October 18, 2012 is the very unhappy anniversary date of the overturn of the U.S. Asbestos Ban and Phase-out Rule (ABPR) which occurred on October 18, 1991. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) drafted the rule to control asbestos; a toxic substance. The ABPR laid out a ten year plan to introduce prohibitions on the import, processing, manufacture and distribution of asbestos-containing products. It became effective on August 25, 1989.
The asbestos industry, from the U.S. and Canada pulled out all the stops. Lobbyists, scientists and the masses were sent to the forefront to preserve this money making industry. Unfortunately, they succeeded. In a seminal decision, the Fifth Circuit court vacated the ban, finding that the EPA failed to present “substantial evidence” to justify the ban under Toxic Substance Control Act or TSCA. Despite its acknowledgment that “asbestos is a potential carcinogen at all levels of exposure,” the court attacked the EPA’s action on several fronts. The result was the overturn of the rule, the needless exposure and subsequent death of countless victims. After ten years of research and deliberation, millions of dollars poured into the regulation, and countless hours of work by environmental health officials, all attempts appeal the overturn of the asbestos ban was completely abandoned. The 1991 ruling left room for EPA to reconcile its research in accordance with the court’s reasoning, but no further action was pursued.
In spite of the rule being overturned, certain asbestos-containing products such as flooring felt; rollboard; corrugated, commercial, or specialty paper remain illegal. Many others, however, remain unregulated by the EPA. As a result, the death toll for mesothelioma victims remains between 2,500 and 3,000 per year. According to The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than 107,000 people die each year from asbestos-related lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis resulting from occupational exposure.
21 years later, asbestos continues to be imported and used in the United States. Hopefully, Canada’s recent withdrawal of support of the use of asbestos will again begin to accomplish what the ABPR did not; to protect the people by regulating this toxic substance.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or any asbestos related condition, we can help you. Preserve your legal rights before time runs out. Our experienced Florida asbestos attorneys at Reyes, O’Shea & Coloca, P.A are dedicated to the fight for the rights of these individuals stricken with mesothelioma and other asbestos related conditions, who were unknowingly exposed and put at risk. Each case is handled individually and given the attention and priority it deserves by our carefully trained legal team.
EPA Asbestos Materials Bans: Clarification