EPA bans asbestos, a deadly carcinogen still in use decades after a partial ban was enacted

ByJen Christensen, CNN, CNNWire
Monday, March 18, 2024
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The US Environmental Protection Agency said Monday that it is taking a "historic" step by banning ongoing uses of asbestos, which has long been linked to multiple types of cancer.

The final rule applies to chrysotile asbestos, the only form of asbestos currently being used or imported to the United States. This type of asbestos is used in car parts such as aftermarket automotive brakes and linings and other vehicle friction products and gaskets.

While the use of asbestos has been declining for decades in the US, asbestos exposure is linked to more than 40,000 deaths in the US, according to the EPA.

People who are exposed to asbestos can develop lung cancer, mesothelioma, ovarian cancer and laryngeal cancer, studies show.

Calling it a "major milestone" for chemical safety "after more than three decades of inadequate protections and serious delays during the previous administration," the EPA celebrated the change.

"The science is clear - asbestos is a known carcinogen that has severe impacts on public health. President Biden understands that this concern that has spanned generations and impacted the lives of countless people. That's why EPA is so proud to finalize this long-needed ban on ongoing uses of asbestos," EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said in a statement.

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