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Asbestos exposure may wane because of reforms in EPA laws

Significant changes may be coming in the way chemicals are federally regulated, and for many workers in Ohio, this may be a very good thing. Forty years after the passage of the Toxic Substance Control Act, reforms are being enacted which give the federal   Environmental Protection Agency more leeway in restricting certain chemicals. Many hope this will greatly limit the opportunities for deadly asbestos exposure.

Of the tens of thousands of chemicals inventoried by the EPA, only a few are federally restricted. This is because TSCA required the EPA to meet heavy burdens when determining the dangers of chemicals. Among the burdens imposed were considering the cost of a chemical's risk and offering the least onerous alternative. When the EPA was unable to meet those requirements during its efforts to ban products containing asbestos, the Court of Appeals overturned the ban, subjecting many people to the side effects of exposure to the deadly chemical.

Since then, the EPA made no further attempts to ban other chemicals, and that led many to lobby to reform TSCA. The reforms now permit the EPA to evaluate chemicals without considering the cost. Additionally, the potential risk of a chemical may now include the examination of those populations that may face excessive exposure, such as workers, children, pregnant women and elderly people. Furthermore, the EPA no longer has to promulgate alternatives for the chemical.

The hope for many is that the reformed law will allow the EPA to ban asbestos and any asbestos containing products. However, because of the decades-long delay in banning the chemical, workers and other susceptible populations may face asbestos exposure for years to come. Those in Ohio who are diagnosed with illnesses from workplace exposure or who lose loved ones to the effects of exposure find guidance and help from an attorney with experience in asbestos-related litigation.

Source:, "Recently Enacted TSCA Reform Will Fundamentally Change US Chemical Regulation", Peter Duchesneau, Oct. 7, 2016

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