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California Attorney General Secures Court Order to Compel Federal Reporting on Asbestos

Posted by Michael Throneberry | Jan 09, 2021

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra recently secured a ruling from a U.S. District Court to compel the Environmental Protection Agency to improve its data collection practices accounting for the importation of asbestos-containing products into the United States. The ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Edward Chen of the Northern District of California will require the Environmental Protection Agency to amend its Chemical Data Reporting rule to improve what the court deemed to be “information gathering deficiencies” created by the agency's voluntary reporting process for asbestos importers.

“Asbestos kills thousands of Americans each year. It is a known public health hazard,” said Attorney General Xavier Becerra. “The EPA can't run from those truths. And it can't run from reasonably available data to evaluate whether certain uses of asbestos pose an unreasonable risk to human health and the environment. Today's ruling is a critical first step toward eliminating exemptions that allow this unsafe chemical to harm our communities, including our workers and children.”

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that kills thousands of people every year. It was once used in thousands of industrial, commercial, and military applications for its heat-resistant properties and ability to be molded to fit a variety of uses. Unfortunately, this seemingly versatile mineral is also directly linked to developing serious forms of cancer, including mesothelioma, a disease for which there is currently no definitive cure.

Mesothelioma commonly affects the thin linings of tissue surrounding vital organs such as the lungs (pleural mesothelioma) and the abdominal cavity (peritoneal mesothelioma) and can eventually spread to other parts of the body, including the heart. Due to the latency period of anywhere from 20 to 50 years, many patients do not receive their mesothelioma diagnosis until their treatment options are severely limited and thereby decreasing their survival rates.

The lawsuit brought by the California attorney general on behalf of dozens of other states asserted that the Environmental Protection Agency was failing to protect Americans by accounting for all of the toxic substances being imported into the country. In 2109 alone, an estimated 100 metric tonnes of asbestos was imported into the United States, used almost exclusively by the chlor alkali industry for the production of chlorine and sodium hydroxide.

At present, the Environmental Protection Agency does not have comprehensive data on how much asbestos is imported, processed and used in the country and this blindspot continues to put American at risk. The hope of many asbestos safety advocates is that the federal court's ruling is an important step in eliminating the narrow exceptions on the importation of a known carcinogen, which will ultimately prevent other innocent victims from developing mesothelioma.

Arizona Mesothelioma Lawyer

If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced Arizona mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help pay for your medical treatment to help you and your family live a more comfortable life.

About the Author

Michael Throneberry

Attorney Michael Throneberry graduated from Purdue University with a Civil Engineering degree. He then served with the United States Army...

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