On July 6, 2023, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a new rule requiring manufacturers and importers to provide detailed information on their asbestos usage over the past four years.
The rule is a direct result of work done by advocates at the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO). After taking legal action, courts ruled in favor of ADAO and agreed the EPA’s failure to gather detailed information on asbestos use was unlawful and dangerous to public health.
Since then, the EPA has taken several steps toward improving asbestos reporting and reform, such as proposing a ban on one asbestos fiber used in chlorine manufacturing, hosting public forums on asbestos-contaminated cosmetics and moving forward with this latest rule.
Linda Reinstein, co-founder and president of the ADAO, told Simmons Hanly Conroy she was hopeful for this next step of asbestos reform.
“For over a century, companies have focused on their profits instead of people and imported and used asbestos without the knowledge of most Americans. Without transparency, accountability and responsibility, Americans remain at risk of deadly asbestos-caused diseases.”
– Linda Reinstein, ADAO Co-Founder & President
ADAO’s Right to Know action began over 10 years ago, followed by the first documents being filed on Mesothelioma Awareness Day on September 26, 2018. The wheels of justice turn slowly, but where there is consistently applied pressure, there is gradual momentum.
However, Linda and other advocates believe stronger guidelines and more action are needed to keep millions of people around the world safe from devastating asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma.
Understanding the EPA’s Rule
The EPA’s asbestos reporting rule requires all manufacturers that imported, produced or processed any asbestos products over the last four years to provide detailed information to the EPA. This includes products that only have trace amounts of asbestos as well.
The data submitted to the EPA must include the following information:
- Employee information to track potential asbestos exposure risk
- Quantity of asbestos manufactured or processed
- Reason for asbestos use
- Types of asbestos fibers used
Companies will have until April 2024 to provide the data to the EPA.
Advocates Urge More Action Is Needed
Steps to track and eventually eliminate asbestos usage have been long overdue. It has been more than 30 years since the EPA’s initial attempt to ban asbestos was reversed.
While the profits of asbestos companies have continued to increase, tens of thousands of Americans have died every year from preventable asbestos-related diseases.
Since then, progress toward completely banning asbestos use in the U.S. has moved at a slow pace. The ADAO, while proud of the EPA’s recent steps, is continuing to urge further action.
“For nearly 20 years, ADAO has been working with the EPA and Congress to prohibit asbestos imports and use. Although our legal win that resulted in the EPA’s Asbestos Reporting Rule is a landmark step forward — it isn’t enough to protect Americans,” says Linda. “ADAO urges Congress to take action now and pass the Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act of 2023.”
If passed, the Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now (ARBAN) would completely ban asbestos in all of its uses, requiring manufacturers to use safer alternatives regardless of their profit margins.
Fighting for the Victims of Asbestos Companies
As a leading national mesothelioma law firm, Simmons Hanly Conroy continues to fight on behalf of those impacted by negligent companies that profited off of asbestos.
We have seen firsthand the devastation that asbestos-related diseases have caused families across the country, and we are driven to fight for justice on their behalf.
Since 1999, our mesothelioma lawyers have helped thousands of families affected by mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases, securing more than $9.3 billion nationwide.
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