Chrysotile asbestos is the only known form of asbestos imported into the United States. It is found in a variety of products, such as sheet gaskets, brake blocks, and aftermarket brakes and linings. The chlor-alkali industry also uses raw asbestos for diaphragms to disinfect drinking water.
After completing its Final Risk Evaluation for Asbestos, Part 1: Chrysotile Asbestos in December 2020, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed a ban of ongoing uses of chrysotile asbestos in April 2022 under section 6(a) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (“TSCA”). This proposed rule prohibited the manufacture, import, processing, distribution, and commercial use of chrysotile asbestos for all ongoing uses of the product. The EPA further proposed that the prohibition of commercial uses of chrysotile asbestos occur two years after the effective date of the final rule to give facilities time to transition away from the use of asbestos technology.
After the public comment period ended on July 13, 2022, the EPA met with stakeholders, including industry and public interest groups. As a result, on March 17, the EPA released additional data it received relating to the proposed rule. This additional data relates to chrysotile asbestos diaphragms used in the chlor-alkali industry and chrysotile asbestos-containing sheet gaskets used in chemical production.
Ultimately, the EPA may use this data in the development of its final rule.
The EPA is currently accepting public comments until April 17. Although the EPA has also stated there will be additional opportunities for stakeholder engagement as it works through the risk management process, these additional comments may significantly impact the final rule, including the EPA’s determination of what constitutes “as soon as practicable” with regarding to the proposed prohibition compliance dates for chrysotile asbestos uses.