By Tom Johnson | NJ Spotlight
New Jersey is joining with 11 other states in claiming the federal government does not adequately regulate asbestos, a failure they contend opens the possible use of the carcinogen in new consumer products.
The attorneys general of a dozen states filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency after having petitioned it to create a new rule requiring data collection on the importation and use of asbestos, a toxic substance the agency had mostly banned in 1989, but can still legally be imported and processed.
“Asbestos is a known carcinogen that kills tens of thousands of people every year, but the Trump administration is choosing to ignore the very serious health risks the substances poses,’’ said Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey in a press release announcing the challenge.
According to the plaintiffs, the EPA does not possess, and is not collecting, the necessary comprehensive data about the importation, processing and use of asbestos in some products.
“Undisputed evidence demonstrates that the manufacturing, importation, processing and use of asbestos-containing products present an unreasonable risk of injury and harm to human health and environment,’’ according to the.
By failing to act on the states’ petition, the federal agency has impaired the ability of the states to identify and evaluate the universe of potential exposure pathways to asbestos, the lawsuit argued.