Asbestos critics concerned about chlor-alkali industry’s high usage of asbestos

16 Sep 2016 by under News

asbestos warning 100x100 Asbestos critics concerned about chlor alkali industrys high usage of asbestosKnown for being the largest U.S. importer of asbestos, the chlor-alkali industry may have to rely on a new mineral if the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency  () decides to review the safety of asbestos under the new Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

The chlor-alkali industry utilizes asbestos regularly for its production of chlorine and caustic soda, which, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, accounted for 90 percent of the 358 tons of asbestos imported into the U.S. last year. Thankfully, the recently reformed TSCA will be taking 10 chemicals currently allowed in the country into evaluation and many experts believe asbestos should be among them.

Unlike most chemical exposure-related diseases, exposure to asbestos in any amount can lead to the development of asbestos-related diseases, mostly due to the small size of asbestos particles and their ability to travel into the human body. One of the deadliest forms of cancer, , is caused by asbestos exposure and can affect the lining of the lungs, abdomen, and, in rare cases, the heart. There is no known cure for mesothelioma, though progress is being made every year.

“Few chemicals are as dangerous as asbestos; there is no question it poses a health risk,” Scott Faber, Vice President of the Environmental Working Group (EWG), told Bloomberg BNA. “Asbestos is the substance by which this new law will be judged.”

The EPA created a list of approximately 90 substances known as the “Work Plan” list from which the agency will be selecting its first 10 chemicals to review. The agency has yet to review the risks of asbestos, but many safety groups believe it should be among the first.

“Work plan substances for which EPA has had significant work underway are logical candidates for the first 10 substances under review,” the American Chemistry Council told Bloomberg BNA in a Sept. 9 e-mail.

Linda Reinstein, president of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), told Bloomberg she believes the chlor-alkali industry should be among the first to be assessed by the EPA due to its high usage of the dangerous substance.

Bloomberg BNA


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