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Building Industry Unites Against EPA’s Asbestos Plan

Nearly 250 Companies, Organizations Urge Agency to Rescind Proposal

 

WASHINGTON, DC – A broad coalition of nearly 250 U.S. building industry companies and organizations representing thousands of workers is urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to rescind its recent proposal that could allow increased use of asbestos.

 

In a letter sent to Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, the group said that, “[t]he Agency’s rule places many of our fellow workers in the construction trades at risk of greater exposure to asbestos. . . The last thing we need to do is create additional danger for these workers by allowing for increased use of asbestos.”

 

The  letter adds that “[i]t is particularly troubling that the Agency seeks to make asbestos more readily available at a time when the number of asbestos substitutes on the market is on the rise. We should be accelerating research and development into such products instead of turning back the clock to a time when the widespread use of asbestos imperiled the public’s health and safety.”

In June, the EPA announced a Significant New Use Rule (SNUR) that could enable companies to petition for new uses of asbestos, but numerous experts – including some of the EPA’s own scientists – note that the plan could open the door for increased asbestos in building materials and other products.

 

The letter was sent the same week as Congress, where legislation has been introduced to ban asbestos, returns from its summer recess.

 

The letter notes that “[t]he design and construction industry works every day to create spaces that are safe, vibrant and sustainable. We recognize the dangers that toxic substances used in the manufacture of building materials pose to the public, and we are committed to reducing exposure to toxic chemicals through greater transparency and identifying safer alternative materials.”

 

Read the letter here.

 

About the CSBE

The Coalition for a Sustainable Built Environment is an alliance of building industry companies and professionals who work with government to advance policy change that fosters buildings that are safe, sustainable and economically vibrant.

 

 

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