New Changes to Asbestos Regulation and How They Could Protect Americans

Many hard-working Americans (not to mention residents all around the world) have paid a high price for the use of asbestos in industry.

To be fair, the dangers of asbestos were not always known, and the benefits of its usage were notable. In its natural state, asbestos is a mineral and does not harm humans. Moreover, it is inexpensive and has useful fire and heat resistant properties. In earlier days, many manufacturers used asbestos in good faith, without the knowledge that it was causing harm.

We now know that, unfortunately, when asbestos particles become airborne and are inhaled, they can cause great damage to the human body, even resulting in mesothelioma. And sadly, many manufacturers and employers continued to use asbestos, even when its dangers became known. In fact, some of those who learned of the dangers of asbestos early on went so far as to hide the information from employees and customers. It took brave litigants to take on the industry, expose these dangers, and hold wrongdoers accountable.

Fortunately, since that time, many steps have been taken in the right direction to protect society from danger. But not all the issues have been resolved – people are still getting sick.

In this article, we’ll discuss some new changes to asbestos regulation and how they could protect Americans.

Proposed Changes to the Use of Asbestos in the United States

Many people believe that asbestos has been banned as a result of its danger to human health, but that is not the case. However, there are definitely more limits on the use of asbestos than existed in the past. Moreover, the Environmental Protection Agency has recently proposed what is referred to as a “significant new use rule (SNUR)” that would purportedly allow the EPA to prevent any new use of asbestos.

Issuing the SNUR is one of several steps that must occur before a final risk evaluation should be completed and published by December 2019. According to an EPA news release, both manufacturers and those who import asbestos would be required to obtain approval from the EPA for specified uses of asbestos “before starting or resuming manufacturing and importing or processing of asbestos.”

The EPA explains that some uses of asbestos were “grandfathered in” under previous law, and that these recent changes in regulation are intended to close those loopholes and thereby protect public health.

Criticism Still Exists

Other observers claim that the Environmental Protection Agency has not taken strong enough action. For example, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) believes that the EPA’s assessment of legacy uses of asbestos is insufficient.

The group acknowledges that the government has not yet made a final decision, but is concerned that the EPA’s exclusion of legacy uses of asbestos constitutes a disregard for the danger in schools, homes, and other buildings. EWG further contends that the EPA defines “asbestos” too narrowly, thereby limiting the kinds of asbestos considered in its analysis.

Call with Questions

While we are always hopeful that the government and industry will both act in the best interest of all Americans, only time will tell if the EPA’s newest actions will ultimately be strong enough to provide full protection from the dangers of asbestos. Moreover, even with new regulations, some people are unfortunately still becoming sick as a result of exposure to asbestos from decades ago, long before many current safety precautions had been undertaken.

If you’re suffering the consequences related to asbestos exposure, please call us with any questions you might have. Our experienced mesothelioma lawyers can help you find the answers you need. At Nelson MacNeil Rayfield, we strongly believe that by standing up for individuals and holding wrongdoers accountable for their actions, we stand up for all of society by making it safer for everyone.


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