Join us on the right side of history — SIGN and SHARE ADAO’s Petition to the U.S. EPA to Ban Asbestos Without Loopholes or Exemptions
Posted on August 29, 2017
National COSH: Asbestos is unsafe at any level. Let’s get rid of it
Exposure to asbestos, a known carcinogen, accounts for as many as 15,000 deaths per year in the United States.
Due to life-threatening hazards, 60 nations have banned use of the deadly material. Asbestos is no longer used in Australia, Japan and most of Europe – but it still found in ships, buildings and consumer products all over the United States.
What are we waiting for?
According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) “[t]here is no ‘safe’ level of asbestos exposure for any type of asbestos fiber.” Even a brief exposure to this common mineral can cause asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.
Domestic mining of asbestos was ceased in the United States in 2002, due to health and safety concerns. But over 350 million tons of asbestos was imported into the US in 2015, reports the U.S. Geological Survey.
Asbestos can still legally be used in a wide variety of industrial and consumer products, including disk brake pads, drum brake linings, cement shingles, roof coatings, and even clothing. Workers who manufacture or handle any of these products are at risk of asbestos exposure and can suffer debilitating – sometimes fatal – illness.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency first attempted a ban on most U.S. asbestos products in 1989, but the regulation was overturned in court in 1991. New amendments to the Toxic Control Substances Act (TCSA), passed in 2016, give public health authorities new authority to protect workers and consumers based on health and environmental risks.
National COSH fully supports the petition initiated by the Asbestos Disease and Awareness Organization (ADAO), calling on EPA to use its existing authority to promptly ban asbestos in the United States, with no exceptions or loopholes. Refinery workers, shipyard workers, firefighters, construction workers and many others face daily exposure to a substance that can ruin their lungs and take their lives.
The science that proves the risk of asbestos is solid and substitute materials are available. ADAO’s petition is right on target: It’s time to act.