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.