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United States fully bans asbestos – The 40,000 a year killer



United States fully bans asbestos – The 40,000 a year killer

The ESA is prohibiting imports of chrysotile asbestos, the only form of the cancer-causing mineral that U.S. industry still uses.


After three decades of attempts, the Environmental Protection Agency has banned the only form of asbestos still in use — part of a family of toxic minerals linked to lung cancer and other illnesses that cause about 40,000 U.S. deaths each year, the agency says.

The EPA on Monday formally prohibited the import and use of chrysotile asbestos, the last type of asbestos that U.S. industries use. The ban comes 33 years after a federal judge blocked the agency’s initial attempt to ban the cancer-causing mineral. While the use of asbestos has declined since, it remains a significant health threat.


“Folks, it’s been a long road. But with today’s ban, EPA is finally slamming the door on a chemical so dangerous that it has been banned in more than 50 countries,” said EPA Administrator Michael Regan.


The agency’s ban targets chrysotile asbestos, also known as “white asbestos,” the only one of the six forms of the mineral still being used in the United States. Resistant to heat and fire, the mineral’s use in the United States is limited to a small number of products, including automotive parts, sheet gaskets and brake blocks for use in the oil industry. Chemical manufacturers have also defended its continued use in making chlorine, which is used in pharmaceuticals, pesticides and to purify drinking water.

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