EPA takes an important step to ban carcinogenic asbestos

Media Contacts
Emily Rogers

Former Zero Out Toxics, Advocate, PIRG

Taran Volckhausen

Former Communications Associate, The Public Interest Network

WASHINGTON — EPA announced today new steps to ban chrysotile asbestos, the most common of six types of asbestos. Chrysotile accounted for all imported asbestos in the United States in 2020, according to the United States Geological Survey. The substance is used to make a wide variety of commercial products, such as industrial vinyl and cleaning products. Exposure to chrysotile and the other five types of asbestos can cause mesothelioma, a rare cancer of the chest and stomach lining, lung cancer and asbestosis, which causes permanent lung damage.

There is overwhelming evidence that there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has said that asbestos exposure causes cancer and other serious illnesses in humans. In the U.S., asbestos exposure contributes to thousands of Americans dying from asbestos-related illness and disease each year.

In response, PIRG Zero Out Toxics Advocate Emily Rogers issued the following statement:

“A ban on asbestos is long overdue. We have known for decades that exposure to this toxin causes serious and often deadly illness and disease but have failed to act. With thousands of American deaths happening each year because of asbestos, I applaud the steps EPA is taking to ban chrysotile asbestos. But more needs to be done. Congress should strengthen EPA’s actions by passing the Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act, to ensure that no form of asbestos can be imported into the U.S. and to once and for all protect public health from this deadly carcinogen.”