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Will Updated Toxic Substances Control Act Regulate Asbestos?

asbestosRegulating asbestos under the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act was ruled illegal. But it may get the go-ahead under the newly reformed federal chemical safety rules.

President Obama in June signed into law the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, requiring new testing and regulation of thousands of chemicals used in everything from cleaning products to paint thinners and clothing. The new law calls on the EPA to select 10 chemicals by mid-December to review for possible regulations.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), has sent a letter to the EPA saying asbestos should be reviewed in this first round, Morning Consult reports. Her letter sites research from the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, which estimates there are 15,000 asbestos-related deaths per year in the US, including 11,000 from lung cancer.

“The combination of well-documented, widespread and serious health effects and ongoing use and exposure provides a strong basis for EPA to act quickly on asbestos,” Boxer wrote.

Earlier this summer the EPA posted an Implementation Plan that outlines the agency’s first-year plans to implement the new chemical safety rules. It gives chemical companies and others a better idea of what, and when, they can expect in terms of EPA rulemaking and enforcement activities.

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