Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, the largest independent
nonprofit asbestos victims’ advocacy group in the United States – along
with the Environmental
Working Group, a consumer advocacy group that empowers people to
live healthier lives in a healthier environment – released a statement
in response to new data showing asbestos imports nearly doubled in 2016,
after years of decline.
Data from the Department
of Commerce and the U.S.
International Trade Commission estimates that 705 metric tons of raw
asbestos were imported last year, compared to 343 metric tons in 2015.
Geological Survey reported asbestos imports came from Brazil and
Russia. The only remaining user of raw asbestos in the U.S. is the
chloralkali industry, which uses it to “manufacture semipermeable
Much of the surge in imports in 2016 came in the fourth quarter of the
year, following the passage of the revamped Toxic Substances Control
Act, or TSCA. Lobbyists from the American Chemistry Council, on behalf
of the chloralkali industry, are now pushing for an exemption from the
new chemical safety law that would allow it to continue to import and
use asbestos just as it does today.
The EPA is currently in the process of implementing TSCA, an overhaul
that gives the agency broader authority to ban toxic chemicals, and
under which asbestos is being evaluated for regulation.
“Opponents of an asbestos ban have long argued that asbestos use is
shrinking in the United States, but now we know just the opposite is
right,” said Linda Reinstein, president and co-founder of the Asbestos
Disease Awareness Organization. “Each year, asbestos-caused diseases
claim the lives of 15,000 Americans. It is shocking that unlike more
than 60 nations around the world, the U.S. has not only failed to ban
asbestos, but its use is increasing dramatically. The EPA needs to ban
asbestos with no exceptions. There is no safe or controlled use of
asbestos in mining or manufacturing.”
“The chloralkali industry’s insistence on the continued use of deadly
asbestos is reprehensible,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “Meanwhile, we
shut our eyes to the communities in Brazil and other asbestos-producing
nations, where miners and their families are exposed to this killer.”
“It is incredulous that, in the face of such harrowing facts, the
chloralkali industry continues to peddle their ‘safe use’propaganda
to the EPA, the public, and their shareholders,” said Dr. Richard Lemen,
former assistant U.S. surgeon general and current co-chair of the
Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization’s science advisory board. “If
the EPA does not place a stop to this environmental and public health
disaster now with a complete asbestos ban, more innocent Americans will
die preventable deaths due to bureaucratic inaction.”
ADAO will be holding a Congressional Staff Briefing on September 26 at
noon to discuss increased asbestos imports and its impact on public
health and the environment.
About the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization
The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization 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 www.asbestosdiseaseawareness.org.
About the Environmental Working Group
The Environmental Working Group’s mission is to empower people to live
healthier lives in a healthier environment. With breakthrough research
and education, we drive consumer choice and civic action. EWG is a
nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to protecting human health
and the environment. More information is available at www.ewg.org.
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