ADAO ACKNOWLEDGES EPA’S NOTICE OF DATA AVAILABILITY IN FEDERAL REGISTER
URGES EPA TO EXPEDITIOUSLY FINALIZE RULE PROHIBITING CHRYSOTILE ASBESTOS IMPORTS AND USE
For Immediate Release
March 17, 2023
LOS ANGELES, CA — The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), an independent nonprofit dedicated to preventing asbestos exposure through education, advocacy, and community initiatives, has reviewed EPA’s newly released Notice of Data Availability (NODA), published today in the Federal Register which contains information that has previously been submitted, but not included in the public docket the EPA is using for their Proposed Part 1 Rule for Chrysotile Asbestos.
“The NODA disclosure makes clear that there is overwhelming support for a chrysotile asbestos ban from nearly all stakeholders but the chlor-alkali industry is using the same old playbook to justify their continued use of asbestos, a known human carcinogen, to protect their profits,” said Linda Reinstein, President and co-founder of ADAO. “Our research confirms the chlor-alkali industry continues to move away from asbestos diaphragms and toward safer, cost effective non-asbestos technology. This ‘new information’ from industry is another desperate attempt to delay transitioning their archaic plants to modern technology. ”
Reinstein stated, “Since the EPA began its asbestos regulatory process anew in 2016, more than 2,600 metric tons of raw chrysotile asbestos have been imported by Olin, OxyChem, and Westlake Corporations.Meanwhile, nearly 40 other chlor-alkali plants use non-asbestos technology which proves that there are safe and profitable options available that don’t put lives at risk. We call on the EPA to move forward with a transition plan that puts people over profits.”
“While we applaud EPA’s transparency, the additional public comment period EPA is launching should not come at the expense of expeditious promulgation of a final rule,” said Bob Sussman, former EPA official and ADAO counsel. “It’s critically important that EPA stick to its October 2023 target date for the final rule so there is no more delay in eliminating asbestos use in the chlor-alkali industry.”
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a rule to ban the use of chrysotile asbestos in various products due to the risk it poses to public health. The proposed ban includes a prohibition on the manufacture, processing, distribution, and commercial use of chrysotile asbestos diaphragms in the chlor-alkali industry, chrysotile asbestos-containing sheet gaskets used in chemical production, and chrysotile asbestos-containing brake blocks used in the oil industry and automotive industry. In 2022, more than 300 metric tons of raw asbestos was imported into the United States for the chlor-alkali industry, the sole user of raw asbestos.
ADAO continues to champion a full and complete ban on asbestos imports and use. This rule, while significant, will not fully ban asbestos, as it only addresses one of six asbestos fibers, and limited conditions of use. For this reason, while we fully support the ongoing rule making process, we also urge Congress to reintroduce and pass the Alan Reinstein Asbestos Now Act.
About the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization
The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) was founded by asbestos victims and their families in 2004. ADAO is the largest non-profit in the U.S. that is dedicated to providing asbestos victims and concerned citizens with a united voice through our education, advocacy, and community initiatives. ADAO seeks to raise public awareness about the dangers of asbestos exposure, advocate for an asbestos ban, and protect asbestos victims’ civil rights.