Advocates working to prevent future cases of malignant mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases took aggressive legal action this week, filing a federal lawsuit challenging a recent decision made by the Environmental Protection Agency. The decision involves the agency’s decision to permit companies using asbestos in their products to evade reporting requirements based on a loophole. The group is also taking issue with the EPA’s assertion that it knows all that it needs to about asbestos usage.
This latest development is of interest to anybody who has mesothelioma, who has a loved one with the disease, or who works on behalf of asbestos victims past, present and future. While previous uses of the carcinogenic material that have caused existing illnesses have largely been identified and held legally responsible, the EPA has permitted certain uses of asbestos to continue, despite efforts by groups including the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, the American Public Health Association, the Center for Environmental Health, the Environmental Working Group and the Environmental Health Strategy Center. The group of advocates filed a 16-page complaint which read in part, “There is overwhelming consensus in the scientific community that there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos,” arguing that greater oversight of the mineral’s use in the United States is needed and that the EPA’s recent position significantly decreases their access to reliable data on which to make decisions about the toxic chemical’s future uses.
Mesothelioma advocates say that the position that the EPA has taken under the Trump administration allows for the collection of “virtually no information”: the information that they believe is needed includes specifics about how much of it is being used, who is using it, where it is coming from, and who is being exposed to it. For its part, the EPA has indicated that they already know everything that they need to know, and that there is insufficient time in which to make the changes that the group is looking for. In response to the EPA’s assertion about the level of data that it is already receiving, the group has countered in a letter saying “EPA has greatly overstated its knowledge of asbestos use and exposure in the United States.”
As the case proceeds, those who have already been diagnosed with mesothelioma continue to suffer. If you have been a victim of asbestos exposure and need information, contact us at 1-800-966-2244.