The EPA Announces It Will Stop Monitoring and Removing Asbestos

The Trump-appointed head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Scott Pruitt, has gotten his share of heat from the media thanks to a never-ending stream of scandals. However, what is getting almost no attention is Pruitt’s decision to no longer have the EPA monitor and (when deemed necessary) remove asbestos from American homes and buildings.

Asbestos, like smoking on airplanes and televisions with physical knobs, might sound like a throw back to a bygone era. However, asbestos is still present in thousands of structures in the United States today and in fact is still being actively used in some ways – and this is set to expand thanks to Pruitt’s decision.

We will never know the true number of deaths attributed to asbestos-related chemical poisoning over the decades. This is in part because some of the diseases that arise from poisoning may take years to manifest, making it difficult to draw a connection. Moreover, data simply wasn’t kept on such things before 1999, well after asbestos was largely phased out of mainstream use. Even still, in just the period between 1999 and 2013, when data is available, roughly 200,000 Americans died due to asbestos exposure. That equates to between 12,000 and 15,000 deaths annually.

Though the science on asbestos poisoning was settled decades ago, not everyone is convinced of the health hazards, including President Trump. Believe it or not, Trump has openly expressed this skepticism, going so far as to state that the science is bunk, and in truth the result of a mob-created conspiracy. Why? “Because it was often mob-related companies that would do the asbestos removal,” wrote Trump in his 1997 book “The Art of the Comeback”. Asbestos is actually “100 percent safe, once applied” Trump claims, contrary to the scientific consensus.

Of course, the EPA’s course change isn’t entirely rooted in crack pot conspiracy theories. As it turns out, the American Chemistry Council – a major lobbying group representing the interests of corporations like Dow Chemical and Monsanto – has been pushing the EPA since 2016 to ease up on asbestos. Meetings between the lobby group and the EPA have intensified under Pruitt’s tenure and, no doubt, played a crucial role in the recent policy change.

Though the EPA says it will continue its process of approving and monitoring the use of asbestos in new cases, existing asbestos will not be evaluated for health risks. And, given that thousands of Americans’ lives are still cut short every year, this is deeply concerning. Right now, many Americans are unaware of whether or not they are being exposed to asbestos – in fact, the government has no idea how many public buildings still have the substance. But, by many indications, asbestos is still rather common in some cities’ public schools.

Take Action!

If the EPA fails to continue to monitor and, as needed, remove existing asbestos installations, hundreds if not thousands of Americans will die. Many of them will be children, students who were unwittingly inhaling toxic particulates during their developmental years. If there were at least 12,000 yearly deaths in the U.S. thanks to asbestos while there was EPA oversight, just imagine how much that number will grow now.

Tell EPA head Scott Pruitt that his chief responsibility is to protect the environment and the health of all Americans – and that this policy change is a failure of this responsibility. Make your voice heard by adding your name to our petition so that together we can make a change!

Concerned about an issue? Want to raise awareness about an injustice? Join your fellow Care2 users by learning how to make your own petition and make your voice heard today!

 

Photo Credit: Ktorbeck / Wikimedia Commons.

64 comments

Denise D
Denise D27 days ago

Thanks for posting this informative article!

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Sue L
Sue L28 days ago

Asbestos is actually “100 percent safe, once applied” Trump claims, contrary to the scientific consensus. Just another lie from our president. Between Trump, Pruitt and the lobbyists our total environment will be ruined in every way possible so the rich can make more money. Disgusting! Keep fighting the BS.

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Colin C
Colin Clauscen28 days ago

Asbestos is a killer

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Renata B
Renata B28 days ago

Refurbish the entire White House with this lovely asbestos and then sit and watch: probably the best way if no-one wants to rock the boat otherwise.

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Renata B
Renata B28 days ago

If you wait two more years there will be not much left to save: the time I snow. Or better: the time was … at least two years ago!

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Renata Kovacs
Renata K28 days ago

Thank you for sharing..

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Janis K
Janis K28 days ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Lisa M
Lisa M28 days ago

Noted.

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Lisa M
Lisa M28 days ago

Noted.

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Dr. Jan Hill
Dr. Jan Hill28 days ago

not good

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