The Fight to Ban Asbestos Moves to the States

Jul 11, 2019 | Asbestos-related Diseases

The deadly effects of breathing in asbestos is a universally accepted fact. The countless number of people worldwide suffering from fatal diseases caused by the fibers continue to grow. In response to the health crisis, nations throughout the world have responded with outright bans on the use or importation of the cancer-causing carcinogen. Yet, one country continues its confounding holdout.

The United States.

The refusal to embrace the complete embargo likely baffles not only leaders of foreign lands, but also victims of mesothelioma and lung diseases caused by the known carcinogen.

States within the US share in the worldwide perplexity. The latest round of dashed hopes saw the Environmental Protection Agency close a decades-long loophole that stopped the agency from restricting certain asbestos product sales.

That “far cry” from a solution represented a breaking point for a collective of Attorneys’ General.

Spurred on by the April ruling, AGs from 10 states (Connecticut, California, Hawaii, Maryland, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Oregon) and Washington DC are suing the EPA to implement stronger regulations, if not an outright ban on asbestos imports.

They claim that the decision falls short of an outright ban. The lawsuit uses harsh yet accurate language. The AGs allege that the denial was “arbitrary and capricious and violated the agency’s obligations under the Toxic Substances Control Act.”

Massachusetts’ attorney general Maura Healey and California’s AG Xavier Becerra are leading the charge in very familiar territory. The latest legal action comes six months after both petitioned the agency to not only improve regulations but also reveal specific information on asbestos currently being imported and used.

The petition was denied. Depending on the outcome of the lawsuit, asbestos imports will continue to provide revenue now and deadly diseases long into the future.

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