People fighting the rare and deadly disease known as malignant mesothelioma have advocates working on multiple fronts. While medical professionals and legal advocates work on behalf of those who have already been diagnosed with the asbestos-related disease, there are just as many working on the preventive side, challenging asbestos companies and the U.S .Environmental Protection Agency to provide greater protections against asbestos exposure for workers and the general public. These groups are allied, and all were cheered this week when U.S. District Judge Edward Chen sided with health and environmental groups working to make asbestos regulations stronger.
Chen, a federal judge based in California, ruled on Friday that the EPA could not avoid a lawsuit filed by the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, the American Public Health Association, the Center for Environmental Health, the Environmental Working Group, the Environmental Health Strategy Center and the Safer Chemicals Healthy Families. Working together, the groups attempted to filed claims under both the Administrative Procedure Act and the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), forcing a review of the agency’s denial of their petition for stricter asbestos regulations that would help protect people from the risk of mesothelioma and other illnesses.
In defending against the mesothelioma and asbestos advocacy groups, the EPA argued that the group could only pursue action under one act, and that it should be the TSCA. The judge agreed that the group could not pursue claims under both laws, but determined that the TSCA had no “express guidance” for review of denial of a petition, while the APA provides direction for what to do when a denial of petition is “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law.” The petition sought a change to a reporting rule that the groups say allows asbestos companies to avoid reporting on the quantity of asbestos being imported, as well as how it is being used and in which products. Speaking on the judge’s decision, Linda Reinstein, president of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, said that the EPA’s current rules don’t provide adequate or accurate information about asbestos, and that the judge’s ruling will provide the opportunity for better protections against mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.
If you have been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma or are at risk for an asbestos-related disease, you understand the need for greater protection from asbestos and the companies responsible for exposing the public to its risks. For more information on how we can help you, contact us today at 1-800-966-2244.