Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that is resistant to heat, electricity, and corrosion. While these qualities are highly useful, they also make the mineral highly toxic. Asbestos is also a natural insulator, but inhalation of the fibers can result in them being forever trapped in the human body, leading to a deadly form of cancer caused mesothelioma. While no amount of asbestos exposure is safe, the United States has yet to ban the mineral. As exposure continues, more asbestos builds up in the body. There is currently no known way to reverse the cellular damage that asbestos exposure causes.
Physicians Weekly reports that some U.S. states are suing the EPA to enact stricter rules governing asbestos. Washington, D.C., along with ten other states have initiated a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency to force the agency to work on tougher rules regulating asbestos oversight. The attorneys general for California and Massachusetts are leading the case after the EPA denied the states’ petition to collect more data on the cancer-causing mineral.
The states involved in the lawsuit include Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington.
In April, a rule gave the EPA the power to review products containing asbestos that had been pulled from the market before they could resume sale in the United States. The Environmental Protection Agency indicated in its denial of the petition that it was already aware of all known uses of asbestos. They also stated that they have the information necessary to assess the risks.
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