Proposed EPA Rule for Asbestos Manufacture and Importing

The 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.

The 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.

Ther 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.