The Dangers of Chrysotile Asbestos and Why the EPA is Taking Action

The Dangers of Chrysotile Asbestos and Why the EPA is Taking Action

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced a proposed ban on ongoing uses of chrysotile asbestos, the only form that is still imported into America. This new rule would be issued under TSCA and comes as an outcome of the 2016 Lautenberg Act overhaul which gave EPA more power to regulate chemicals in use today.

The EPA's proposed ban on chrysotile asbestos would prohibit the use of asbestos in any new products and would phase out the use of asbestos in existing products over some time. This proposed ban would protect the American people from the dangers of asbestos exposure and would help to finally eliminate this deadly substance from our environment.

In addition, EPA is conducting a separate risk analysis of asbestos in legacy uses and associated disposals, other types of asbestos fibers than chrysotile, and conditions of use for asbestos in talc and talc-containing goods.

The EPA released the scope for the second portion of the asbestos risk analysis in December 2021, and the final risk evaluation will be published on December 1, 2024.

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What Is Chrysotile Asbestos And Why Is It Dangerous?

Chrysotile asbestos is the most widely used variety of asbestos, accounting for 90 to 95 percent of all asbestos utilized in buildings in the United States. Chrysotile asbestos is prized for its heat-resistant qualities and flexible fibers that may be woven into textiles.

However, chrysotile asbestos is also highly dangerous to human health. When inhaled, the fibers of chrysotile asbestos can become lodged in the lungs and other organs, causing serious health problems including lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis.

Asbestos exposure has been linked to over 10,000 deaths each year in the United States, and the numbers are only increasing as more and more people are diagnosed with asbestos-related illnesses.

By banning the use of chrysotile asbestos, the EPA would be taking a major step forward in protecting public health and saving lives.

Chrysotile can be found in the following products:

  • Asphalt
  • Brake lining
  • Brake pads
  • Cement
  • Clutches
  • Disk pads
  • Gaskets
  • Plastics
  • Roofing materials
  • Rubber
  • Textiles

Though chrysotile asbestos is still mined today in Canada, Russia, and Italy, there is continuing debate between health care professionals and the firms that continue to export it. These businesses maintain that chrysotile mined today is safe because it is only used in dense and non-friable materials enveloped in a matrix of either cement or resin.

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The EPA's proposed ban on chrysotile asbestos would put an end to the use of this dangerous substance in the United States and would help to save lives.

How Would The EPA's Proposed Ban On Chrysotile Asbestos Impact The United States?

If the EPA's proposed ban on chrysotile asbestos is enacted, it would have a major impact on the United States.

The use of asbestos has been in decline for many years, due to increasing public awareness of its dangers and the availability of safer alternatives. However, there are still many products that contain asbestos, and exposure to this substance continues to pose a serious threat to public health.

The EPA's proposed ban on chrysotile asbestos would prohibit the use of asbestos in any new products and would phase out the use of asbestos in existing products over time. This would protect the American people from the dangers of asbestos exposure and would help to finally eliminate this deadly substance from our environment.

The proposed rule, for example, reports that the aggregate quantified national benefits of avoided cancer (including lung cancer, mesothelioma, ovarian cancer, and laryngeal cancer) amount to $1,200-$3,100 per year depending on the discount rate employed. On the spending side, EPA predicts that replacing the asbestos diaphragms that are currently used for water treatment will cost $1.8 billion across all nine facilities that utilize these diaphragms today.

While the EPA's main focus in performing its cost-benefit analysis was on asbestos, it has acknowledged that many businesses may turn to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) once the ban takes effect. Chlorine and caustic soda are produced from asbestos diaphragms, which are used in water treatment. EPA has stated that replacing these asbestos diaphragms may necessitate an increase in the amount of PFAS chemicals. The EPA has been monitoring PFAS chemicals for some time, and it has implemented several rules in recent years to control and regulate their usage.

What Are The Next Steps For The Epa's Proposed Ban On Chrysotile Asbestos?

The EPA's proposal is currently in the public comment period, and it is expected to be finalized later this year. If enacted, the ban on chrysotile asbestos would be a major step forward in protecting public health.

How Can You Protect Yourself From Exposure To Chrysotile Asbestos?

If you suspect that you may have been exposed to chrysotile asbestos, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and treatment of asbestos-related illnesses can improve your chances of recovery. You can also reduce your risk of exposure to chrysotile asbestos by avoiding products that contain this substance.

Conclusion

Chrysotile asbestos is a harmful chemical that can have deadly consequences. Asbestos is a known human carcinogen, and exposure to it can cause mesothelioma, lung cancer, and other health problems. Chrysotile asbestos is the only form of asbestos that is still imported into the United States, and the EPA's proposed ban would put a stop to that. This blog post has provided an overview of the dangers of chrysotile asbestos and why the EPA is taking action to ban it. You can protect yourself from exposure to chrysotile asbestos by avoiding products that contain it, and by staying informed about the EPA's proposed ban.