New TSCA Restrictions for Asbestos Proposed
Update 05/24/2022US EPA is extending the comment period on a proposed TSCA rulemaking to ban ongoing uses of asbestos. EPA will now accept comments until July 13, 2022.
US EPA has proposed regulations to address the “unreasonable risks” posed by chrysotile asbestos. The proposed rule is the result of a chemical risk evaluation process mandated by the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), as amended.
The proposed regulations would prohibit the manufacture (including import), processing, distribution, and commercial use of chrysotile asbestos in bulk form or as part of:
- Chrysotile asbestos diaphragms in the chlor-alkali industry,
- Chrysotile asbestos-containing sheet gaskets in chemical production,
- Chrysotile asbestos-containing brake blocks in the oil industry,
- Aftermarket automotive brakes/linings (and other vehicle friction products) containing chrysotile asbestos, and
- Other chrysotile asbestos-containing gaskets.
Last, EPA is proposing requirements for disposal of chrysotile asbestos and recordkeeping rules related to disposal. The proposed prohibitions are not intended to impact processing or distribution of chrysotile waste incidental to disposal.
Proposed Effective DatesIf finalized, the rules that impact commercial activities would take effect two years after the rule’s effective date. The standards for consumer uses, and the disposal and recordkeeping requirements, would take effect after 180 days.
EPA will accept public comments on the proposed rule until June 13, 2022.
This proposal focuses on chrysotile asbestos. Also called "white asbestos," chrysotile asbestos makes up 99% of the asbestos produced worldwide today. Repeated or prolonged exposure to asbestos can damage the lungs and cause chronic effects such as cancer, pulmonary fibrosis, and chronic lung disease. EPA will address other forms of asbestos in a future rulemaking (“Part 2”).
Why Asbestos? Why Now?TSCA, as amended in 2016, requires US EPA to evaluate the risks of chemicals on the TSCA Inventory. When EPA determines that a chemical poses an “unreasonable risk” to human health or the environment, the Agency must address those risks through regulations.
To make these risk determinations, EPA uses chemical data submitted by industry, testing, scientific studies, and other sources of information. Section 6(a) of TSCA gives EPA a range possible actions to address chemical risks—from requiring workplace controls or PPE to reduce the risk to workers, up to prohibition.
Chrysotile asbestos was among the first 10 chemical substances that EPA selected to evaluate using the new procedure.
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