What’s behind the sudden surge in asbestos imports?


Asbestos is a recognized carcinogen. The mineral was lengthy thought-about a “miracle fiber” for its power, resilience and warmth and hearth resistance. For many years, it discovered its means into all the things from insulation and flooring tiles to brake pads and hair dryers.

Even so, U.S. producers largely moved away from asbestos use resulting from a collection of restricted bans and large lawsuits. Consequently, asbestos use has declined quickly because the early Eighties. U.S. corporations have stopped mining it, and the imports have principally dried up, as nicely. Till lately.

Chemical producers proceed to tug their heels

E&E Information lately reported that asbestos imports had risen sharply over the primary three months of 2022. Actually, the 114 tons of chrysotile asbestos imported from Brazil and China over these months outweighed the 100 tons imported in all of 2021.

This information comes regardless of the very fact Brazil has banned asbestos use inside its borders. It additionally flies within the face of a possible ban. As a result of the EPA is as soon as once more contemplating a full ban on asbestos, some recommend the imports are a cynical response. The president of the Asbestos Illness Consciousness Group (ADAO) claims the rise reveals that chemical producers are “banking on stopping the proposed ban.”

The surge in asbestos imports can also be notable as a result of the U.S. permits only a few makes use of. Many of the imported asbestos will go to chemical crops the place producers course of chlor-alkali for chlorine. But, as Reuters pointed out, there are options that don’t contain asbestos. Actually, U.S. corporations produce two-thirds of the nation’s chlor-alkali with out asbestos. Solely 10 crops nonetheless use asbestos, and people crops are owned by three corporations.

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These three corporations have refused to cease utilizing asbestos although the U.S. banned the mining of asbestos again in 2002. For 20 years, these corporations have did not learn the writing on the wall, they usually proceed to place lives in danger with a dangerous carcinogen. Why? Presumably, to work towards a barely greater revenue margin, although their rivals can do enterprise with out the lethal mineral.

Holding producers accountable

The chlor-alkali producers are attempting to place their very own spin on the information. They declare the proposed asbestos ban will shut factories and harm hundreds of employees. Nonetheless, that declare overlooks the very actual, and quick, incontrovertible fact that hundreds of Americans die every year from asbestos-based diseases.

The Environmental Working Group Motion Fund carried out an evaluation of asbestos-related deaths. It discovered that asbestosis, asbestos-related lung most cancers and mesothelioma claimed someplace between 8,500 and 10,600 American lives per 12 months.

After all, prior to those deaths, you could have victims struggling with poor well being. You’ve gotten households pressured to lose their family members too quickly. You’ve gotten desires derailed, further monetary burdens and lengthy, troublesome most cancers remedies. All of this so chemical producers can ignore one methodology of manufacturing for an additional that may save them pennies on the greenback.

There’s no purpose the chlor-alkali trade ought to maintain the general public well being for ransom. It’s potential to carry them accountable, in addition to all the opposite producers who knowingly uncovered the American public to asbestos.

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