Proposed Asbestos Standard from EPA Would Mark First Time Risk Level Set For Illness

Posted on October 16, 2012 at 8:57am by

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has made significant strides with asbestos exposure and clean-up that also satisfies two of the agency’s top priorities: Improving Air Quality and Cleaning Up Our Communities.

On Septemeber 25, 2012, the EPA issued a press release announcing that the agency had reached a settlement with Legacy Landings, LLC, which agreed to take steps to protect the nearby public from asbestos hazards at its site in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

Three days later, the Associated Press reported that a new proposal from the EPA for Libby, Montana, “would be 5,000 times tougher than the standard used in past cleanups addressing airborne asbestos.” The ongoing Superfund cleanup in the small town about 40 miles south of the Canadian border has cost at least $447 million since 1999 and is expected to last several more years. The AP noted that W.R. Grace & Co., a Maryland chemical company, operated a vermiculite mine in Libby for three decades, leaving the town coated in asbestos dust. That killed an estimated 400 people and sickened at least 1,700 more, according to the AP, which also noted that health experts expect the death toll to rise because of the long latency period of asbestos-related illness.

The AP reported that the new EPA plan would declare airborne asbestos concentrations exceeding two-100,000ths of a fiber per cubic centimeter pose a health risk. The agency previously took action when the substance was airborne in amounts greater than one-tenth of a fiber per cubic centimeter. The Government Accountability Office said some of the 200-plus industrial sites in 40 states that received vermiculite from Grace’s Montana mine could be affected by the new EPA standard, according to the AP.

The AP also noted that the EPA proposal “for the first time sets a risk level for non-cancer illnesses,” such as asbestosis. However, it is important to note that asbestos exposure has also been linked to lung cancer and mesothelioma. Additional information about products containing asbestos can be found on our website.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our firm at (800) 687-3333 or fill out the form on this page to have our Dallas litigation lawyers review your case.

Stanley Iola, LLP – Dallas litigation lawyers

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