In January 2023, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced plans to develop new safety regulations regarding chrysotile asbestos and phthalates. The agency is required to issue a comprehensive agenda outlining upcoming or completed regulatory actions twice a year under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
The EPA previously announced final risk evaluations on asbestos, determining use poses an unreasonable risk to consumers in 2021. The agency then proposed a rule to address the risk in the new Unified Agenda, proposing new restrictions prohibiting the importation, manufacturing, processing, distribution, and commercial use of asbestos for production of diaphragms in the chloralkali industry.
The new restrictions also prohibit the use of asbestos in a variety of products, including the oil industry’s brake blocks, aftermarket automotive brakes and lining, vehicle friction products, and gaskets, as wells as consumer use for the latter two.
The rulings also call for new regulations concerning disposal and record-keeping requirements regarding the manufacture of products containing asbestos under the TSCA.
When asbestos dust or fibers are inhaled or ingested, it can cause mesothelioma, lung cancer, or asbestosis. For workers in certain industries, exposure can cross decades, putting them at the highest risk:
Rates of mesothelioma are highest in military veterans due to the widespread use of asbestos in each branch, especially the U.S. Navy, where asbestos was extensively used as a fire preventative material in submarines, ships, and shipyards.
Exposure to phthalates can occur through water supplies, food packaging, food, personal products, cosmetics, cookware, and many other circumstances, such as ingestion, leaching, or skin contact. Health risks associated with exposure include cancers, reduced immune systems, reproductive problems, child developmental delays, hormone disruption, and increased risk of obesity and cholesterol levels.
The proposed rules and regulations would require manufacturers of asbestos and phthalates to report information and articles on quantities and exposure to the EPA in order for the agency to issue a final rule this coming May. Following a period of public comments and review, the agency is expected to issue a final rule in October 2023.
Exposure to asbestos poses serious health concerns, particularly for workers in certain industries. If you have been diagnosed with a health condition due to exposure, our experienced Philadelphia asbestos lawyers at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler can help. Call us at 215-569-4000 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey, including Delaware County, Chester County, and Philadelphia County.