Proposed Rule Would Subject Certain Uses of Asbestos to EPA Approval

Published June 6, 2018

EPA is proposing a new rule that would require manufacturers and importers to receive the agency’s approval before starting or resuming manufacturing, importing, or processing of asbestos. The rule would apply to several uses of asbestos that the agency has determined are not currently ongoing, such as the use of asbestos in adhesives, sealants, coatings, certain types of gaskets, filler for acetylene cylinders, pipeline wrap, reinforced plastics, separators in fuel cells and batteries, vinyl-asbestos floor tile, and building materials other than cement.

Manufacturers and importers would need to notify EPA at least 90 days before manufacturing, importing, or processing asbestos for these purposes. During the 90-day period, EPA may take action to limit or prohibit the proposed use. For a full list of uses of asbestos that would be subject to the new rule, see the prepublication version of the rule (PDF) on the EPA website.

The rule will be available for public comment for 60 days following its publication in the Federal Register.

EPA also released information about the risk evaluations the agency will initiate under the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, which amended the Toxic Substances Control Act. EPA has identified ten chemicals for evaluation: 1,4-dioxane, 1-bromopropane, asbestos, carbon tetrachloride, cyclic aliphatic bromide cluster, methylene chloride, N-methylpyrrolidone, pigment violet 29, tetrachloroethylene, and trichloroethylene (TCE). The newly released information clarifies the uses of these chemicals that EPA expects to evaluate and describes how EPA expects to conduct the evaluations. The amended TSCA sets a December 2019 deadline for EPA to complete these evaluations. Links to the risk evaluation information for each of these ten chemicals can be found on the EPA website. A separate document (PDF) released by EPA describes how the agency will select and review studies of chemicals during the agency’s risk evaluation process.

The risk evaluation documents will be available for public comment for 45 days following their publication in the Federal Register.