EPA Releases Draft Scope Document for Part Two of Asbestos Risk Evaluation
(WASHINGTON, December 29, 2021) - EPA is asking for public input on the draft scope document for the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Risk Evaluation for Asbestos Part 2: Supplemental Evaluation Including Legacy Uses and Associated Disposals of Asbestos. In this risk evaluation, EPA will evaluate the conditions of use of asbestos excluded from the part 1 asbestos risk evaluation that was completed in December 2020.
Following EPA’s June 2016 designation of asbestos as one the first ten chemicals to undergo risk evaluation under TSCA, the previous Administration focused the risk evaluation for asbestos on chrysotile asbestos as this is the only asbestos fiber type that is currently imported, processed, or distributed in the U.S.
However, as a result of the November 2019 decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Safer Chemicals Healthy Families v. EPA, EPA plans to evaluate legacy uses and associated disposals, other types of asbestos fibers in addition to chrysotile, and conditions of use of asbestos in talc and talc-containing products in a supplemental effort that is the focus of part 2 of the risk evaluation for asbestos.
For this asbestos part 2 risk evaluation, EPA has adopted the definition of asbestos as defined by TSCA Title II Section 202 as the “asbestiform varieties of six fiber types – chrysotile (serpentine), crocidolite (riebeckite), amosite (cummingtonite-grunerite), anthophyllite, tremolite or actinolite.” EPA will also consider Libby Amphibole Asbestos (and its tremolite, winchite and richterite constituents) in part 2 of the risk evaluation. Additionally, EPA will assess the relevant conditions of use of asbestos in talc or talc-containing products, because talc has been implicated as a potential source of asbestos exposure.
The draft scope also reflects EPA’s policy changes on risk evaluations announced in June. This includes the consideration of exposures from air and water, and potential exposure to fenceline communities (i.e., communities near industrial facilities).
Assumptions that personal protective equipment (PPE) in occupational settings will always be properly utilized will not be the basis for the risk determination. Use of PPE, and other ways industry protects its workers, will be assessed during the risk evaluation, but only considered during risk management as a potential way to address unreasonable risks.
Upon publication of the Federal Register notice, EPA will accept comments on the draft scope document for 45 days in docket EPA-HQ-OPPT-2021-0254. EPA will use feedback received from the public comment process to inform the final scope document.
EPA will publish the final risk evaluation for asbestos, part 2 by December 1, 2024, as required by court order.