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IPFS News Link • Trump Administration

Under Trump's EPA, asbestos might be making a comeback


Trump's EPA has made it easier for companies to begin using asbestos again—here's what it could potentially mean for American consumers, architects, and builders.

By Aileen Kwun

Asbestos, a dangerous carcinogen outlawed in more than 55 countries, could make a comeback in the United States, under Trump's Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA has even made it easier for companies to introduce new uses of asbestos-containing products in America—many of which could end up in common products in your home, as well as the materials used to build it.

While products derived from asbestos may not hold a direct threat to consumers, the environmental advocacy group Healthy Building Network tells Fast Company the health risks are significant for workers who mine the toxic material, as well as those who handle it in industrial facilities that import it. Surrounding neighborhoods where asbestos fibers may be released into the air, as well as those in proximity to the landfills where they may ultimately end up, are also affected. People in the building community, who are exposed to the fibrous material while renovating and constructing our homes, schools, and offices, also remain at risk.

Once touted as a "magical mineral," asbestos carries heat, electricity, and chemically resistant properties that made for common applications in a wide range of manufacturing materials, and especially building insulation, before knowledge of its grave health risks caused many countries to ban its use in the 1970s.