The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took an unusual step in March by opening a new period during which the general public, including residents of Pennsylvania, can comment on its proposed asbestos ban. The reason behind the new comment period is that the agency received further information on the cancer-causing substance, including various news reports on how workers in chlorine manufacturing plants were regularly exposed to asbestos.
The timeframe to comment is short
The public only has until April 17 to comment on the widespread asbestos exposure and the unsafe working conditions revealed in numerous media reports. The EPA has proposed a two-year timeline for chlorine manufacturing companies to switch to non-asbestos manufacturing processes. However, the companies have pushed back, saying the two-year timeline is too short. Citing a shortage of rare metals and other factors, the manufacturers also rejected an alternate plan that would give them five years to make the switch if they complied with monitoring workers’ exposure to asbestos. The companies refused, as they wanted a 15-year transition period.
Fighting against manufacturers’ refusals to protect their workers
The chlorine manufacturers are just the latest in a series of industries that have fought against asbestos regulations that would protect their employees since the 1930s. Thousands of workers since that time have been regularly exposed to asbestos and ended up with mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. Although many industries have banned asbestos, others have not, with some manufacturers not warning their workers about the risk of exposure.
Health difficulties from asbestos exposure can take years to develop. If you believe you have a medical problem like mesothelioma or another disease resulting from asbestos exposure, you may be able to sue your employer for negligence. Asbestos-related diseases are often fatal or, at best, require significant time away from work to attend to medical treatment.