On November 29, 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced
the first 10 chemicals it would evaluate under the Lautenberg Chemical
Safety Act for the 21st Century Act. These 10 chemicals were chosen due
to their severe risk to human health and the environment.
Among the first ten chemicals under evaluation was asbestos. Under the
Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act for the 21st Century Act, the EPA had the
authority to ban asbestos. Now we may never see this ban. The EPA nominee,
Scott Pruitt, will not commit to a ban of asbestos use and its importation
into the United States.
When confronted with the facts and data concerning the correlation between
asbestos and incurable cancers, such as, mesothelioma, he refused to give
a definitive answer to the questions posed by the Senate Environmental
and Public Works Committee.
He preferred to answer by responding, "Prejudging the outcome of that
evaluation process would not be appropriate.” In other words, he
is taking a, “Let’s wait and see" attitude about the
dangers and public health risk posed by the use of asbestos.
Mr. Pruitt's refusal to take a stand against future use and importation
of asbestos is problematic to pushing the ban of asbestos in the U.S.
We hope Mr. Pruitt soon realizes the thousands of individuals who have
been adversely affected by asbestos, and importance of making a ban of
asbestos a priority.