Every year in the U.S., approximately 15,000 Americans die as a result of asbestos-related diseases. This has been true since the 1930s, when it first became widely used in construction materials, ship building and automobile manufacturing. As it now stands 58 countries on this plant have banned the use of asbestos because they know – we all know – just how dangerous it is when the fibers are breathed in.
And yet, the U.S. is not among those nations because in 1991, a federal court overturned the ban on the substance imposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. However, it seems like we might finally change course on this when last yea, President Barack Obama signed an amendment to the Toxic Substances Control Act that would finally give the EPA the authority to prohibit the use of asbestos and ban asbestos imports. These plans were still moving ahead, despite Trump’s election.
But now, we have as the new head of the EPA a man named Scott Pruitt. There are a number of reasons for environmental advocates to be concerned about this pick, but one of those is the fact that Pruitt refused in a questionnaire from the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee to promise he would follow through with the asbestos ban. Continue reading