EPA Risk Assessment Highlights Asbestos Dangers for Workers and Consumers

EPA risk assessment on asbestos dangers

Asbestos Dangers Persist for Firefighters, Construction Workers, and Homeowners, EPA Report Finds

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released a risk assessment report, "Draft Risk Evaluation for Asbestos Part 2: Supplemental Evaluation," revealing the continued dangers of asbestos exposure. 

This comes shortly after the long-awaited ban on the remaining legal uses of asbestos in the United States.

Asbestos: A legacy of disease

Asbestos exposure is a known cause of severe health problems, including:

  • Lung cancer: The most common asbestos-related cancer, claiming countless lives globally.

  • Asbestosis: A debilitating lung disease causing scarring and shortness of breath.

  • Mesothelioma: A rare and aggressive cancer affecting the lining of the lungs, chest, or abdomen.

Knowledge of these risks has existed for decades, with widespread public awareness emerging around 1964. Despite this, the United States continued to permit limited asbestos use until very recently. 

As a result, mesothelioma lawsuits have become a significant part of the American legal landscape, with hundreds of thousands of cases filed against companies responsible for asbestos exposure.

The EPA risk evaluation: Identifying persisting risks

In 2016, the EPA designated asbestos as a priority chemical for risk evaluation under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). This two-part evaluation aims to determine the dangers various chemicals pose to human health. Part 1, completed in 2020, focused on chrysotile asbestos, the sole type still in use at the time in the US.

Part 2, released in April 2024, delves deeper, assessing:

  • Legacy uses and disposals: Analyzing the ongoing risks associated with existing asbestos-containing materials in buildings, infrastructure, and consumer products.

  • Additional fiber types: Evaluating the health risks of five other asbestos fiber types beyond chrysotile.

  • Asbestos-containing talc: Investigating the potential health dangers associated with talcum powder containing asbestos.

  • Libby amphibole: Examining the specific risks of this particularly hazardous form of asbestos.

The draft evaluation clearly states that "asbestos, as a chemical substance, presents an unreasonable risk of injury to health under its conditions of use."

Who faces the highest risks?

The EPA identifies several professions particularly vulnerable to asbestos exposure:

  • Firefighters: Regularly encountering asbestos-containing materials in burning buildings.

  • Construction workers: Exposed to asbestos during demolition, renovation, or maintenance activities.

  • Manufacturing workers: At risk in industries where asbestos-containing materials are still used.

However, the danger extends beyond the workplace. Owners of older homes performing renovations themselves are at significant risk. Asbestos was commonly used in flooring adhesives, insulation, and various building materials. Disturbing these materials without proper safety precautions can lead to high levels of exposure.

Protecting yourself from asbestos exposure

The EPA evaluation highlights the need for continued vigilance against asbestos. Public awareness, stricter regulations, and effective mitigation strategies are crucial to protect workers and consumers from this potentially fatal exposure.

Here's what you can do:

  • Minimize Risks During Renovations: Consider professional asbestos abatement services for renovations in older buildings.

Your lung cancer or mesothelioma could be linked to asbestos

If you or a loved one were diagnosed with Lung Cancer or Mesothelioma, you could be entitled to significant financial compensation! Asbestos exposure is a known cause of these cancers. Consulting with an attorney specializing in asbestos exposure cases is crucial to understand your rights and explore potential compensation for medical costs and other damages.



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