Archive for January, 2017

(Wrote this in December as a environmental writing sample)


The EPA To Regulate Asbestos and Other Toxic Chemicals


The EPA has released a list of ten chemicals to be regulated under a new amendment to the Toxic Substances Control Act.


By Glenn Nelson


On June 22, 2016, President Obama signed the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act into law. The new law amends the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), and will require the EPA to evaluate existing chemicals with “clear and enforceable deadlines,” according to an agency press release. The law aims for “increased public transparency,” while holding the chemicals to “new risk-based safety standards.”

On November 29, the EPA released a statement listing the first ten chemicals to be evaluated under the new law. These chemicals include asbestos, dioxane, and carbon tetrachloride, amongst other common chemicals.

Asbestos is perhaps the most commonly known chemical on the list and has already been classified as a known carcinogen by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Asbestos is associated with mesothelioma, lung cancer and other health problems. According to the National Institute of Health, disturbing asbestos products can release fibers into the air, which can become trapped in the lungs for long durations.

In the past asbestos was commonly used by the building industry for insulation, fireproofing, roofing and sound absorption. In 1989 the EPA banned all new uses of asbestos, however uses predating the ban were not regulated. Despite there being no effective ban on asbestos, there has been a significant decline in consumer use.

The EPA chose the first ten chemicals from a list of 90. The chemicals were selected for evaluation on the basis of potential hazard, and the likelihood of public exposure. The EPA will be choosing additional chemicals to evaluate and must have 20 chemical risk evaluations ongoing by 2019. At least half of the chemicals evaluated by the EPA must come from the TSCA Work Plan, until the list of 90 chemicals has been exhausted.



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