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Asbestos is used in the manufacture and production of many products. Most are products used in the building industry ranging from cement shingles to soundproofing materials. It is also used in many household products including automobile brake pads, fire-resistant fabrics, and consumer garden products, to name just a few.
When asbestos fibers are released into the air, they cause a fatal asbestos-related lung diseases. One disease is asbestosis. Another is mesothelioma. The Cleveland clinic reports that approximately 3,000 people die every year from mesothelioma and 90 percent of those cases were caused by exposure to asbestos.
Working with asbestos containing products is the main cause of an asbestos-related lung disease. Even those who launder the clothes of workers exposed to asbestos are at risk for contracting lung cancer.
In an attempt to identify and inform the use of asbestos, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently issued a final rule, under the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) which requires manufacturers, importers, and processors who used asbestosis between 2019 and 2022 to report the use to the EPA.
Table of Contents
What is a Final Rule?
A final rule refers to the publication in the Rules and Regulations section of the Federal Register “of a document establishing a new regulation, amending an existing regulation, or removing a regulation.” The final rule “provides the public notice and is generally accompanied by a preamble that explains the basis for the rule, responds to comments received on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, and contains a variety of analyses required by statutes and executive orders.”
A final rule establishes an effective date for the new regulation. Generally, it is 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.
What is The Final Asbestos Rule?
Regulation Requirements and Who Is Affected by It
According to a press release published in the Federal Newswire, The final rule requires “asbestos manufacturers and processors to report information on use, exposure, and asbestos-containing products from the previous four years. The collected data will inform future actions related to asbestos, including risk evaluations and potential risk management activities.”
Who is Affected by the Final Rule?
Specifically, the press release notes that the final rule requires those who manufactured, imported, or processed asbestos containing products, including any asbestos containing article, and where asbestos was part of a mixture, to report that use to the EPA if that use occurred:
- Any time between 2019 and 2022.
- The manufacturer, importer, or processor had sales of $500,000 or more in one calendar year.
The rule requires reporting of exposure-related information including:
- Quantities of asbestos used.
- Types of asbestos use.
- Employee data concerning employee exposure.
In the press release, Michal Freedhoff, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, was quoted as saying, “We know that exposure to asbestos causes cancer and other serious health problems that still result in thousands of people dying every year, and today we’re continuing our work to protect people from this dangerous chemical. We’ve already proposed to ban chrysotile asbestos, and the data we’ll receive from this final rule will help us to better evaluate and address the health risks from the remaining uses and types of asbestos.”
The 25-page final rule outlines all the reporting requirements of the New Rule. Manufacturers, importers, and distributors of asbestos can check to see if their products are covered within the reporting requirements of the rule.
Effective Date of the Rule and Reporting Dates
The rule became effective on August 24, 2023. The reporting must be completed by electronic submission between February 24, 2024 and May 24, 2024. This gives those affected by the rule up to nine months after the effective date to collect and submit the required information to the EPA. The data is to be electronically transmitted to the EPA.
What is the History of the Rule on Asbestos and Why is the Final Rule Important?
TSCA section 8(a) authorizes the EPA to promulgate rules that require entities that manufacture or process chemical substances to keep certain records and submit them to the EPA when reasonably required. It also authorizes the EPA to give exemptions to small manufacturers, importers, and processors unless they are subject to the terms of a final rule.
Because asbestos is the subject of a final rule, certain forms of asbestos are not eligible for the small manufacturer, importer, or processor exemption.
In 2019, a court ruled that the agency’s limited review and exclusion of legacy uses and associated disposal was illegal. One of the court orders was for the EPA to “address the risks that asbestos poses to human health.” The final rule that went into effect on August 24, 2023, is the next step in addressing, documenting, and regulating the harmful substance.
Why is This Rule Important?
This is only one of a series of actions taken by the EPA’s Part 2 risk evaluation. According to the press release, later this year, the EPA will finalize a rule which will “ban ongoing uses of chrysotile asbestos, the only known form currently imported into the United States. This rule targets products like asbestos diaphragms, sheet gaskets, brake blocks, and other vehicle friction products, aiming to further protect public health from asbestos exposure.”
Contact The Ferraro Law Firm if You Are Concerned About Asbestos Exposure
If you or a loved one is experiencing health issues as a result of asbestos exposure, you may be entitled to compensation. At The Ferraro Law Firm, we focus on each client’s case and will use all our resources to ensure you have the most robust representation possible. To schedule your free consultation, call 888-554-2030 or just fill out our free case consultation form and a member of our team will soon be in touch.