EPA Under Trump About To Make Asbestos Great Again, Considers New Uses

EPA Under Trump About To Make Asbestos Great Again, Considers New Uses

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Scott Pruitt is out at the EPA, but it looks like the Trump administration is right on schedule with making a mockery of protecting the environment anyway with Andrew Wheeler at the helm. Now we learn that the EPA authorized a SNUR to allow new products containing asbestos to be created on a case-by-case basis.

“The SNUR greenlights companies to use toxic chemicals like asbestos without thinking about how it will endanger people who are indirectly in contact with it,” writes Sydney Franklin for Architects Newspaper.

It sounds like something from Dr. Seuss that would highly upset the Lorax: a Significant New Use Rule (SNUR) to bring back asbestos despite the obvious problems of killing about 40,000 people annually due to lung cancer and mesothelioma.

Along with high health care costs, the average homeowner pays an average of $1,076 to $2,611 to remove asbestos (abatement) from their homes. The costs for larger buildings is astronomical, with an estimated 25.6 million pounds removed in 2015.

Chelsea Clinton weighed in on the bizarre new attempt to bring back asbestos.

The very idea of bringing it back is preposterous to rational thinking people, but this horrid idea from the Trump EPA is verified by Snopes as “mostly true.”

Snopes discusses the fact that the EPA is “explicitly allowing new uses” of asbestos, while also “limiting the scope of studies that assess its risk.”

The one misconception:

“The EPA has not changed anything about currently banned uses of asbestos, and any new uses would first be assessed by the agency.”

If the EPA decides new uses of asbestos are warranted, studies limited in scope could give it a green light.

Those studies would seem extremely limited:

From Architects Newspaper:

“In May, the EPA released a report detailing its new framework for evaluating the risk of its top prioritized substances. The report states that the agency will no longer consider the effect or presence of substances in the air, ground, or water in its risk assessments.”

To combat this move from the Trump administration, it will take efforts at the local level, by state governments, and by informed consumers, architects, and companies.

It’s a no-brainer that bringing it back would put Americans at more risk. It’s astonishing that the Trump administration is considering it at all, but then again, this is the Trump Twilight Zone. May these days come to a sensible, asbestos-free conclusion very soon…


Featured image: Asbestos fibers via Asbestorama via Flickr (CC By 2.0) with Trump via Wikimedia Commons