California Lawmaker Pushes EPA for Action Regarding Asbestos


In June of 2016, President Barack Obama signed the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act ("Chemical Safety Act") into law, which gives the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) more oversight and authority to test and restrict the use of potentially harmful chemicals and substances, including asbestos. Since 2012, the EPA has included asbestos on its Work Plan list, which identifies a host of substances that the EPA intended to evaluate for regulation. Since placing asbestos on its Work Plan list, the EPA has made no attempts to regulate asbestos.

Under the Chemical Safety Act, the EPA is required to identify the first ten "high priority" substances that it will evaluate by December 22, 2016. California Senator Barbara Boxer, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, is urging the EPA to include asbestos as one of the first ten substances for testing and potential regulation under the Chemical Safety Act. In a letter to the EPA, Senator Boxer noted that "the chemicals selected will drive [the] EPA's agenda for the next several years" and urged the EPA to evaluate the necessity for the regulation of asbestos.

Companies should ensure they are informed about the results of any chemical evaluations under the Chemical Safety Act, especially since the EPA's power to regulate substances under the new law is broader than it used to be. Governo Law Firm has represented clients in environmental and toxic tort claims for three decades. We regularly follow scientific, medical and legal developments in toxic tort claims, including asbestos, chemicals, lead and mold. If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact David Governo at [email protected] or John Gardella at [email protected].