As a former USAF environmental investigator and retired State of New Mexico Environment Department enforcement manager, this writer noted a highly positive and recent development in the world of asbestos regulation.

The Associated Press (“AP News”) reported on March 18, 2024, that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) announced a comprehensive ban on chrysotile asbestos, a proven carcinogen that kills tens of thousands of Americans every year, but is still used in the manufacture of chlorine bleach or caustic soda (often used in water purification), brake linings, gaskets and other products.

The new rule bans non-legacy use of chrysotile asbestos (often referred to as “white asbestos”).  On March 18, 2024, EPA Administrator Michael Regan stated that “with today’s ban, [the] EPA is finally slamming the door on a chemical so dangerous that it has been banned in over 50 countries.”

The AP News article may be read HERE.

According to a U.S. White House press release on March 18, 2024, a 1991 court decision largely struck down the EPA’s 1989 ban on asbestos and significantly weakened the EPA’s authority under the Toxic Substances Control Act (“TSCA”) which regulates asbestos.

TSCA amendments in 2016 mandated evaluation and prioritization of chemicals (including the mineral asbestos) and the mitigation of unreasonable health risks.  Asbestos is an established human carcinogen.

On March 18, 2024, a new TSCA rule banned chrysotile asbestos manufacture and use in the United States. The ban, with certain exceptions, becomes fully effective in two years or less.

A copy of the new TSCA rule, titled “Asbestos Part 1; Chrysotile Asbestos; Regulation of Certain Conditions of Use Under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)” was filed in the Federal Register on March 28, 2024.  The final rule may be read in its entirety HERE.

My brothers and sisters, asbestos has killed thousands upon thousands of persons worldwide for many years.

Once asbestos has been mined and put to use, or products containing asbestos are being disposed, it represents a potential hazard to human health.  This is primarily due to the potential for inhalation of airborne asbestos fibers which can lodge in the lungs (sort of like little fishhooks) and can cause cell abnormalities or run away growth (cancer).

Photograph: US Geological Survey, Via Maine Public Radio, []

Regulated asbestos waste (generally meaning material containing >1% asbestos content) is considered a “special waste” with unique handling, transportation and disposal requirements under the New Mexico Solid Waste Act and Rules, the New Mexico Occupational Health and Safety Act, and federal law.  This is to assure sufficient protection of human health and the environment.

One of the reasons it can be difficult to convince persons of the risks posed by the presence of asbestos is that there is a “latency period” associated with asbestos exposure – meaning that although exposure may result in cancer and death, the effects of asbestos exposure may not manifest for 10 to 30(+) years following such exposure.

As I’ve mentioned many times before, we live in a world, especially in the United States, where it seems everything is overregulated; however, there are certain environmental or health-based regulatory and enforcement programs at both state and federal levels which save thousands of lives – for the benefit of not only ourselves, but our children.

Praise God when our civil governments operate in wisdom!  And praise God for the wisdom to recognize when this is the case in our own experience and lives!

Proverbs 4:7 (NKJV)
“Wisdom is the principal thing; [t]herefore get wisdom.  And in all your getting, get understanding.”

Praise Jesus forevermore!

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