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November 30, 2016

Asbestos ranked on EPA’s First List of 10 Toxic Chemicals to Review

The Environmental Protection Agency announced Nov. 29, 2016 that asbestos is among the first 10 toxic chemicals that will soon be evaluated under the recently amended Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). President Obama signed the amendment into law on June 22, 2016 and it requires that the EPA evaluate existing chemicals related to potential health or environmental risks.

A known carcinogen, asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fiber once valued for its resistance to heat, electrical and chemical damage. Exposure to even one fiber of asbestos has been linked to causing fatal diseases such as mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis and other lung diseases. While the United States took steps to ban the mineral from certain industrial products in the late 1980s, the ban did not bar the use of asbestos altogether.

“The EPA’s decision to rank asbestos as one of the first 10 chemicals it will evaluate for potential risks to human health is significant,” said Joe Rice, Motley Rice co-founder who has been representing people affected by asbestos exposure for more than three decades. “Unfortunately, it is a little too late for many of our clients and their families who have tragically lost a loved one due to an entirely preventable toxic exposure. I hope the EPA does a thorough but expedited review, and ultimately bans the use of asbestos in the United States.”

The first 10 chemicals selected for review by EPA are the following: 

  • 1,4-Dioxane
  • 1-Bromopropane
  • Asbestos
  • Carbon Tetrachloride
  • Cyclic Aliphatic Bromide Cluster
  • Methylene Chloride
  • N-methylpyrrolidone
  • Pigment Violet 29
  • Tetrachloroethylene, also known as perchloroethylene
  • Trichloroethylene

More information about the full list, including exposure and hazard information is on the EPA’s website.

EPA is slated to begin evaluating the first 10 selected chemicals within six months, during which it will decide whether they “present an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment.” The review process must be completed within three years, TSCA mandates. If a chemical’s risk reaches “unreasonable” levels, EPA must mitigate the potential harm within two years.

EPA will continue to select additional chemicals for review, and is expected to maintain at least 20 chemical evaluations at a time by the end of 2019.

Attorneys at Motley Rice have been fighting for justice for decades for clients and their loved ones related to asbestos exposure, including supporting non-profit and advocacy organizations that encouraged EPA to include asbestos on its first 10 chemicals list. If you or a loved one suffers from mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, you may contact Motley Rice asbestos attorneys Anne McGinness Kearse or John Herrick by email or call 1.800.768.4026.