In a Major Victory for Public Health, Federal Court Orders EPA to Require Industry to Report on Asbestos Imports and Uses

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Court holds that EPA’s refusal to use its reporting authority to obtain necessary information for its asbestos risk evaluation was arbitrary and capricious

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), an independent nonprofit dedicated to preventing asbestos exposure, applauds District Court Judge Edward J. Chen’s decisive ruling today compelling the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to require reporting by companies importing and using asbestos under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

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Judge Chen’s extensive opinion sides with ADAO in its legal challenge to EPA’s 2018 denial of its petition to include asbestos in EPA’s Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) rule.

ADAO filed the petition to make sure the Agency collected information on asbestos use and exposure necessary to evaluate and eliminate the serious risks of cancer and lung disease that asbestos poses to the American public.

“This has been a long, hard battle, but our homes, schools, workplaces, consumer shelves, and our environment should be free from asbestos and ADAO will fight for that until it happens,” said Linda Reinstein, co-founder and president of ADAO. “EPA cannot do its job to protect the public unless it has basic information on how much asbestos is entering the United States and where it goes once it is here. This win is an unequivocal rejection of EPA’s weak and inadequate protection of public health from a deadly substance that has taken hundreds of thousands of lives,” she continued.

In his decision, Judge Chen emphasized “how little information EPA has about the quantities of asbestos-containing products in the U.S. chain of commerce and the overall consumer and occupational exposure for downstream uses of asbestos.”

He held that EPA’s “unwillingness to act stands in the face of its significant statutory authority to require that this information be reported via the CDR rule and runs contrary to its obligation to collect reasonably available information to inform and facilitate its regulatory obligations under TSCA.”

“Once again, it is clear that without an asbestos ban, both raw asbestos and asbestos-contaminated products enter our country without responsibility or accountability. That’s why we continue to urge Congress to pass the Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act (ARBAN),” Reinstein urged.

“Judge Chen’s decision could not be clearer that EPA lacks basic information on asbestos exposure and risk and has no credible excuse for failing to use its TSCA reporting authority to fill these glaring gaps in understanding,” said ADAO’s counsel, Robert M. Sussman. “As the Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals (SAAC) found, this lack of knowledge is among the many serious flaws in the Draft Risk Evaluation for Asbestos and demonstrates that EPA is failing to provide the protection against this lethal substance that Congress demanded when it amended TSCA in 2016.”

ADAO was joined by the American Public Health Association (APHA), Center for Environmental Health (CEH), Environmental Health Strategies Center (EHSC), Environmental Working Group (EWG), and Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families. Eleven Attorneys General from California, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington, and the District of Columbia were also co-petitioning with ADAO.

About the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization

The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) is a global leader in combining education, advocacy, and community initiatives to prevent and end asbestos exposure. ADAO seeks to raise public awareness about the dangers of asbestos, advocate for an asbestos ban, and protect asbestos victims’ civil rights. ADAO, a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, does not make legal referrals. For more information, visit asbestosdiseaseawareness.org.

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Contacts

Kim Cecchini, (202) 391-5205

kim.s.cecchini@gmail.com

Tracy Russo, (202) 556-1631

tracy@upshiftstrategies.com