Due to high demand, the press conference is now only open to government employees and credentialed journalists.
Posted on May 11, 2020
The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) is pleased the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has rescheduled the Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals (SACC) Draft Risk Evaluation for Asbestos public meeting to June 8 – 11, 2020. This is the first reassessment of the risks of asbestos in decades, and it is long overdue. Since asbestos is responsible for nearly 40,000 deaths in the U.S. every year, the new evaluation has enormous public health implications.
For nearly four years, ADAO and other stakeholders have urged the EPA to use the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act to ban asbestos. The risks of asbestos have been well-documented since 1989, when the EPA initially banned the carcinogen. However, the ban was overturned in 1991 and under Trump’s EPA, our comments and docket submissions have fallen on deaf ears. This was made even more clear by the release of the draft evaluation, as there are numerous deadly exclusions in the risk evaluation, and the EPA originally tried to push through the risk evaluation during the coronavirus pandemic, when scientists and other experts have little time to give their opinions and suggestions.
Although there are many flaws in the industry friendly Draft Risk Evaluation, we plan to focus one the below six points:
- The draft evaluation does not address the risks of legacy asbestos products contained in millions of buildings across the US, despite a ruling from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals last year that EPA is obligated to evaluate these risks.
- The evaluation only examines one type of asbestos fiber — chrysotile — while there are six recognized commercial asbestos fibers.
- EPA only looks at the risks of lung cancer and mesothelioma, and does not consider other types of cancer (ovarian and laryngeal), or serious non-cancer diseases (asbestosis) that are known to be caused by asbestos
- EPA has ignored the documented presence of asbestos contamination in talc-based crayons and other common consumer products to which infants and children are exposed.
- EPA has excluded all environmental pathways of exposure, including air emissions, contaminated waste, and drinking water contamination, further underestimating risk.
- EPA has excluded Libby Amphibole asbestos which is contained in attic insulation found in 15 – 30 million homes.
In collective efforts to maximize our deep concerns, ADAO is hosting a press conference on May 28 at 2 pm ET with a panel of experts to discuss the deadly flaws in the EPA’s draft risk evaluation.
The panel of experts include:
Barry Castleman, ScD
Penny Fenner-Crisp, PhD; Environmental Protection Network
Dr. Arthur Frank, MD, PhD
Liz Hitchcock; Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families
Richard Lemen, MSPH, PhD
Jacqueline Moline, M.S.c., MD
Celeste Monforton, MPH, DrPH, American Public Health Association
Patrick Morrison; International Association of Fire Fighters
Christine Oliver, MPH, MS, MD
Robert Sussman, JD
Due to high demand, the press conference is now only open to government employees and credentialed journalists. Registration is required, as there is a password for the Zoom event. At a time when we desperately need a ban on asbestos, a weak and incomplete EPA evaluation would be a step in the wrong direction.
Penelope Fenner-Crisp, PhD has 40+ years of experience in the preparation and management of assessments of chemical risks to human health and ecosystems. She held a number of senior scientist and senior management positions in the drinking water, chemicals and pesticides programs during 22 years at EPA. She has served on many WHO and OECD working groups, and NAS, FDA and EPA advisory panels. She has authored over 50 publications. Dr. Fenner-Crisp is a member of the EPA Alumni Association board and an active volunteer with EPN. Dr. Fenner-Crisp received a B.S. in Zoology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and an M.A. and PhD. in Pharmacology from the University of Texas Medical Branch, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at Georgetown University.