The EPA and Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma and the EPA

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was created by an act of Congress in 1970 to protect the air, land, and water of the United States.  Today, in addition to protecting the environment from pollution, the EPA is responsible for protecting the health of US citizens from the adverse effects of various environmental contaminants like asbestos.  Asbestos is a naturally occurring, fiber-like mineral that can cause diseases like Mesothelioma and lung cancer when inhaled or swallowed.  The EPA, in conjunction with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), promulgates various regulations and guidelines designed to ensure the safe handling and disposal of asbestos in the home or workplace. 

Mesothelioma, Asbestos Laws and the EPA

The EPA has two sets of asbestos-related laws or regulations they are responsible for enforcing:  The Clean Air Act (CAA) and the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). 

Clean Air Act, Mesothelioma and Asbestos

Section 112 of the CAA establishes the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Asbestos (NESHAP) which delineates who is responsible for things like demolition, monitoring, and general safety in the workplace.  Those bearing the responsibility under NESHAP are required to notify local and State agencies as well as their regional EPA office before demolition.  Local and State regulations may require certification and licensing before any removal or repair that may disturb the asbestos takes place. 

Toxic Substances Control Act and Mesothelioma

Provision in the TSCA include the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) regulating action concerning asbestos contamination in public and private schools, and the Asbestos School Hazard Abatement Reauthorization Act (ASHARA) which requires the use of accredited inspectors and abatement contractors when addressing asbestos remediation in schools, and public or commercial buildings.

EPA Asbestos and Mesothelioma Information

For more on asbestos and asbestos-related health infirmities like Mesothelioma, check out the EPA asbestos webpage.  For more information from the EPA about what to do if you think you might have asbestos in your home, click here.  To find out if your state has training and certification programs for asbestos abatement contractors, call the TSCA Assistance HotLine at (202) 554-1404.