EPA to Assess Asbestos in First Round of TSCA Reviews

Boxer doesn't expect a conference to be necessary. (Rob Kunzig/Morning Consult)

The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday announced the first 10 chemicals it will review for possible risks to human health, including asbestos, under the recently updated Toxic Substances Control Act.

The agency will have three years to finish the assessment after it publishes the list in the Federal Register. The deadline for publication is Dec. 19.

The first 10 chemicals the EPA will review are: 1,4-dioxane, 1-bromopropane, asbestos, carbon tetrachloride, cyclic aliphatic bromide cluster, methylene chloride, N-methylpyrrolidone, pigment violet 29, tetrachloroethylene and trichloroethylene.

If the EPA finds that any of the chemicals pose a risk to human health and the environment, it must act within two years to mitigate the risk.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) had previously urged the agency to include asbestos in its first round of reviews. The lack of federal regulations on the material was a high-profile example of why lawmakers wanted to update the 1976 law.

Congress passed an update to the original statute in June, giving teeth to a law that had essentially left it to states to regulate chemicals. The 1976 law set such a high standard for the EPA to prove that regulations were necessary, to the point that its first attempt to ban asbestos was thrown out by a federal court.

The EPA announced in October that it will “fast-track” regulations for five other chemicals.

Morning Consult