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Chemical Regulation

States sue US EPA for failure to act on asbestos

by Britt E. Erickson
July 4, 2019 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 97, ISSUE 27

A coalition of 11 state attorneys general is taking the US Environmental Protection Agency to court following the agency’s denial of a petition seeking an asbestos regulation. The petition, which the states filed in January, asked the EPA to require companies to report their importation and use of asbestos in the US. The states asserted that the agency needs such data to prevent unreasonable risks to people and the environment posed by asbestos, a known human carcinogen. The agency denied the states’ petition in April. The EPA must finish its evaluation of the risks of asbestos under the revised Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) by the end of the year. Asbestos “kills tens of thousands of people every year, yet the Trump Administration is choosing to ignore the very serious health risks it poses,” Massachusetts attorney general Maura Healey says in a statement. Healey and several state attorneys general previously sent comments to the EPA ­opposing how the agency is conducting risk evaluations for asbestos and other high-priority substances under TSCA. The attorneys general claim the EPA refuses to consider some significant exposures.

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