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EPA seeks to limit asbestos exposure with new rule

Despite the fact that the dangerous health effects of asbestos are well understood, it is still imported into the United States. This imported substance is used in a wide range of products that continue to put people in South Carolina at significant risk for asbestos exposure. A new rule from the Environmental Protection Agency could help reduce the risk of exposure to new uses of asbestos.

While many people believe that the United States has a total ban on asbestos, it actually only has a partial ban. That partial ban has allowed the ongoing importation and manufacturing of asbestos, which is frequently used during industrial processes and in specialized products. The EPA proposed its Significant New Use Rule -- SNUR -- in 2018, which it hoped would close up loopholes that allow ongoing asbestos use. Feedback from safety advocates led the EPA to revise SNUR.

In its current iteration, SNUR will prevent any asbestos use aside from those that are already taking place. It will also make it easier for the EPA to regulate asbestos and any applications for exceptions. Those that request exceptions will also be subjected to an intense safety review as well as additional regulations and restrictions.

New rules and legislation aimed at reducing the risk of asbestos exposure are important, particularly when it comes to the health and well-being of South Carolina residents. Whether from older or newer uses, exposure to asbestos can lead to some devastating diseases. Mesothelioma and lung cancer can be fatal to victims, who often need help getting compensation for their medical bills, lost wages and other damages.

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