Washington – The Environmental Protection Agency is seeking comments on a draft Part 2 of a final risk assessment that concludes asbestos – a known human carcinogen – poses an unreasonable health risk to workers under certain conditions.
Used in chlor-alkali production, consumer products, coatings and compounds, plastics, roofing products and other applications, asbestos is among the top 10 chemicals being evaluated for potential risks to health and the environment under the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety Law for the 21st Century.
Released on December 28 and announced via a review published in the 29 december Federal Register, Part 2 of the assessment focuses on the legacy uses and disposal of asbestos, defined by the EPA as “the conditions of use for which the manufacture (including import), processing and commercial distribution no longer occur, but where use and disposal are still known, planned or reasonably expected (eg, asbestos in older buildings)”.
Part 2 discusses five other types of asbestos fibers beyond chrysotile – the subject of Part I, published early last year – as well as talc, which “has been implicated as a potential source of asbestos exposure,” the agency said.
After criticizing the first part of the risk assessment as “fragmentary and dangerously incomplete,” the nonprofit Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, in a press release, applauded the agency for using a more informed and more complete in continuation of part 2.
“[EPA] has taken a critical step in fulfilling its long-delayed obligation to assess the risks of legacy asbestos under the Toxic Substances Control Actsaid ADAO President and Co-Founder Linda Reinstein. “The Part 2 Risk Assessment will finally provide a robust and comprehensive assessment of legacy asbestos that can be found in millions of homes, schools and workplaces.”
Reinstein’s late husband, Alan, died of mesothelioma in 2006. She remains a supporter of an EPA ban on asbestos.
Comments on the project of Part 2 of the Risk Assessment are due February 14th. The agency is required to publish a final version no later than December 1, 2024.