Asbestos is a known cancer-causing substance with no safe level of exposure. Yet this dangerous substance is still used in the United States. Recently, a coalition of sixteen U.S. attorneys general filed a petition advocating for a new federal rule that would significantly increase asbestos reporting and better protect public health.
Despite its known carcinogenic effects, asbestos is currently categorized as exempt under the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Chemical Data Reporting Rule.
Asbestos is treated under the rule as eligible for exemptions because it is a naturally occurring substance derived from a mineral. Yet every year more than 15,000 Americans die from complications of exposure to this documented carcinogen.
Because of its insulating and fireproofing properties, asbestos was widely used in numerous industries from shipbuilding and automobiles to the military and home and commercial construction up until the early 1980’s.
Pennsylvania has the third-highest fatality rate in the nation from asbestos exposure related illnesses. The most infamous is arguably Mesothelioma, a deadly disease that presently has no cure and is the result of inhalation of asbestos fibers.
It has been known for more than 70 years that asbestos exposure causes mesothelioma, various cancers and other diseases. As a result, it began to be regulated starting in the 1970’s.
However, the United States is not one of the more than 60 nations that have banned asbestos, despite the hazards, and even still allows it for certain uses.
In 2016 the EPA had begun revamping of the Toxic Substances Reporting Act (TSRA), to better review a list of ten toxic substances, including asbestos. However, in 2018 the EPA under the Trump administration introduced a new rule that the attorneys general argue has the effect of allowing more, not fewer, uses of asbestos.
The coalition of attorneys general argue in their petition that the EPA cannot fully comply with the TSRA, because the exemption exists and allows certain uses for asbestos. They also argue that asbestos processors and manufacturers should be required to comply with reporting requirements and that this should include asbestos importers.
The coalition states that the EPA is not gathering the required data on importing and processing of asbestos-containing items, and thus cannot fully assess and regulate the health hazards.
The coalition is led by the attorneys general of California and Massachusetts and includes Connecticut, Minnesota, Hawaii, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, Rhode Island, and the District of Columbia.
Mesothelioma is challenging to treat and is difficult to initially diagnose when it is in the early stages and most treatable. It primarily affects the lining of the lungs, heart, and other organs. Those who worked in industries with asbestos, such as mining and shipbuilding, are at highest risk of developing the fatal illness.
If you or a loved one believes you have been exposed to asbestos in the home, workplace, or military service, the guidance of an experienced Pennsylvania asbestos lawyer is critical to receiving the care and compensation you need.
If you or a loved one have contracted mesothelioma, contact the asbestos lawyers in Pennsylvania at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler who have a record of representing thousands of victims of asbestos exposure. Contact us for a free consultation to discuss your case. We serve clients in Philadelphia and Delaware County, Chester County, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. Please complete our online request form or call us at 215-569-4000.