The Toxic Substances Control Act Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals (SACC) peer review meeting regarding persistent asbestos risks scheduled for April 27 to 30 has been postponed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Though the meeting was to be virtual, the absence of key members and the importance of the discussion forced the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to put the meeting on indefinite hold. Despite the EPA’s delay of the asbestos review, it serves as a good reminder of the threat of asbestos exposure we still face in this country today.
What Is the Review Going to Cover?
The meeting is a peer review of the recent asbestos risk evaluation draft assembled by the SACC. The draft evaluated the threat from “legacy” asbestos – products manufactured 30 years ago that remain in use in construction. The draft reports workers, consumers, and bystanders were all susceptible to the adverse effects of asbestos under certain conditions of use. Particularly, this review will take aim at the Toxic Substances Control Act and will provide the EPA the option of proposing further asbestos regulations. The draft document for review can be found at the Federal Register’s website.
What Asbestos Risks Will They Review?
The draft risk evaluation conducted by the SACC in March found 33 conditions of use found to be of an unreasonable risk. Similar to the Significant New Use Rule, the EPA will analyze and determine the risk of asbestos exposure among these conditions of use and propose new regulations accordingly. Particularly, this draft cites the following industrial products:
- Diaphragms in the chloralkali industry
- Brake blocks in the oil industry
- Chemical production sheet gaskets
- Automobile aftermarket brake linings
- Automobile friction products
- Commercial asbestos-containing gaskets
Despite the potential risks to the public, the EPA did not, however, find any risks to the environment or risks from importing asbestos. Nevertheless, this peer review could potentially contribute to the growing list of banned asbestos products.
While it’s concerning there may be a delay on the asbestos review due to its potential postponement of life-saving regulations, it’s a discussion that requires the attention of all leaders in the field. However, it’s a stark reminder of the continuing risks of asbestos in commercial, residential, and municipality buildings. These are the reasons asbestos abatement and inspections are still so important to this day. If you are concerned about the presence of asbestos in your establishment, Fiber Control, Inc. has the remediation experience to help. Contact us for a consultation on your property.