Attorney General Becerra Secures Victory in Lawsuit Seeking to Compel EPA to Issue New Rule Eliminating Exemptions for Asbestos Reporting

Tuesday, December 22, 2020
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SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra applauded today’s ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, which found that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) denial of a multistate petition to create a new rule requiring data collection on the importation and use of asbestos was unlawful. Asbestos is a highly hazardous chemical still used by certain industries and found in products in the United States. Today’s ruling compels the EPA to initiate rulemaking to eliminate exemptions for asbestos in the current Chemical Data Reporting rule. 

“Asbestos kills thousands of Americans each year. It is a known public health hazard,” said Attorney General Becerra. “The EPA can’t run from those truths. And it can’t run from reasonably available data to evaluate whether certain uses of asbestos pose an unreasonable risk to human health and the environment. Today’s ruling is a critical first step toward eliminating exemptions that allow this unsafe chemical to harm our communities, including our workers and children.”

Asbestos – a carcinogen that takes 15,000 lives per year – is linked to diseases that are life-threatening, or cause substantial pain and suffering, including mesothelioma, fibrosis, lung cancer, gastrointestinal cancer, as well as other lung disorders and diseases. There is no safe level of exposure to this highly toxic material. Currently, the EPA does not possess, and is not collecting, the necessary comprehensive data of the importing, processing and use of asbestos and asbestos-containing articles in the U.S.

A copy of the decision can be found here.

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