February 17, 2022

EPA Allows More Time for Comments on Draft Scope Document for Asbestos Risk Evaluation

Stakeholders now have until March 1 to review and provide comments on a draft scope document that describes EPA’s efforts related to the upcoming second part of its risk evaluation for asbestos. Part 2 of the agency’s risk evaluation will focus on the conditions of use of asbestos that were excluded from part one. Part one, which was completed in December 2020, focused on chrysotile asbestos, the only asbestos fiber type currently imported, processed, or distributed in the United States. In part two of its risk evaluation, EPA plans to focus on legacy uses of asbestos and associated disposals, other types of asbestos fibers in addition to chrysotile, and conditions of use of asbestos in talc and talc-containing products because talc has been implicated as a potential source of asbestos exposure. EPA’s website explains that the agency will also consider crocidolite (riebeckite), amosite (cummingtonite-grunerite), anthophyllite, tremolite, and actinolite as well as Libby amphibole asbestos in the second part of its asbestos risk evaluation.

This supplemental effort to EPA’s risk evaluation for asbestos stems from a decision (PDF) issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in November 2019 in the case Safer Chemicals Healthy Families v. EPA, which challenged the agency’s prioritization and risk evaluation rules under the Toxic Substances Control Act.

More information is available in EPA’s news update and webpage for part two of the asbestos risk evaluation.