On Monday, March 18, 2024, in a historic measure, the United States joined more than 50 other countries by banning chrysotile asbestos.  On Thursday, March 14, 2024, Michael S. Regan, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator, signed the Final Rule titled, “Asbestos Part 1; Chrysotile Asbestos; Regulation of Certain Conditions of Use under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).” See the EPA’s recent press release.  Following a phaseout period, the Final Rule prohibits ongoing uses of Chrysotile asbestos, to protect people from lung cancer, mesothelioma, ovarian cancer, laryngeal cancer and other health problems caused by asbestos exposure.  According to an article published in The New York Times,  “the regulation from the Environmental Protection Agency would prohibit the use, manufacture and import of chrysotile asbestos, which has been linked to lung cancer and mesothelioma, a cancer that forms in the lining of some internal organs.”

Chrysotile asbestos is the only type of asbestos that falls into the serpentine category, and is the most widely used type of asbestos. Chrysotile is commonly used in the raw and in manufactured products such as asbestos cement, asbestos diaphragms, sheet gaskets, roof and siding shingles, aftermarket automotive brake linings and other vehicle friction products, pipe insulation, joint compound, and floor tiles.  It can also be spun and woven into fabric, and used to make asbestos rope, fire aprons and other materials.  Because serpentine asbestos is made of curly and flexible fibers, and due to its flexibility, it is the more commonly used type of asbestos. It is the only raw form of asbestos known to be currently imported, processed or distributed for use in the United States.  But the final rule would require the ban on imports to begin as soon as the measure comes into force.

In some ways the ban is a weaker version of the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2022 proposal, originally requiring a two-year phaseout for most commercial uses.  The ban that was recently finalized would allow up to twelve years for companies to phase out the use of asbestos in manufacturing (depending on the facility).  Unfortunately, the long transition period would not prevent many workers from being exposed to the dangerous chrysotile asbestos fibers.  Mesothelioma and asbestos-related diseases do not become evident at the moment of exposure. Typically, there is a latency period of approximately ten to fifty years between initial exposure to asbestos and the development of mesothelioma.

If you or a loved one have been exposed to asbestos, and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or an asbestos-related disease, contact us today for a free consultation with our experienced New York mesothelioma attorneys.