After being subjected to a lot of pressure, the United States Environmental Protection Agency recently agreed to address its asbestos data collection deficiencies. Early June 2021, Rob Bonta, California's Attorney General, announced that the EPA has finally agreed to initiate rulemaking to gather data on and eradicate reporting exceptions for uses of the harmful carcinogen known as asbestos. Over the previous months, the Environmental Protection Agency has been called out for failing to regulate asbestos. In 2020, for example, Massachusetts and California led a coalition in challenging the agency's failure to develop a new rule requiring data about the importation and use of asbestos to be collected. Six months before the EPA agreed to work on its data collection deficiencies, a U.S. District Court judge in the state of California ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency needs to work on improving how it collects data on asbestos importation. Additionally, the agreement comes two years after a coalition of 11 attorney generals from 11 states took the agency to court after it denied a petition seeking an asbestos regulation.
The EPA's failure to properly regulate asbestos has done a lot of harm to many people over the years, and California's Attorney General understands this all too well. In his exact words, the Attorney General, during his announcement, said, "The long-time failure of the EPA to regulate asbestos is an environmental injustice and public health tragedy." However, the settlement might just be what the country needs to move another step closer to banning asbestos. In addition, the agreement might help protect Americans from one of the world's most toxic substances.
In the settlement, the EPA agrees to meet specific deadlines for the rulemaking. The EPA is expected to sign for publication in the Federal Register;
- a notice of its proposed rule, no later than nine months from the agreement's effective date.
- a final rule, no later than eighteen months from the effective date of the agreement.
Apart from California, some of the other states that were part of the June 7 settlement include Washington, Hawaii, Oregon, Minnesota, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Maryland, and Maine.
Over the years, the EPA has argued that the voluntary data reporting rule it currently uses provides sufficient information. Moreover, the EPA has argued that the information it has been collecting can inform ongoing efforts to evaluate the level of risk asbestos possesses. Nevertheless, despite what the EPA claims, the chances are, it does not collect or possess enough comprehensive data on asbestos importation, processing, and use. Whatever the case, one can be almost certain that additional data will only prove more useful.
Asbestos and Mesothelioma
Asbestos is known for causing mesothelioma, a type of cancer that forms in the lining of the lungs. Hopefully, with a new rule on reporting, the EPA and the country at large can move one step closer towards protecting Americans from mesothelioma. As Linda Reinstein, the co-founder and president of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, said, "This is a huge win for public health."
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.