The EPA has issued a final rule that closes a regulatory loophole for asbestos by prohibiting discontinued uses of the substance by being re-introduced to the marketplace without an agency review. Restrictions on Discontinued Uses of Asbestos; Significant New Use Rule (SNUR) is effective June 24, 2019.

The restricted significant new uses of asbestos (including as part of an article) is in manufacturing (including importing) or processing for uses that are neither ongoing nor already prohibited under TSCA. The Agency has found no information indicating that the following uses are ongoing, and therefore, the following uses are subject to this SNUR and cannot return to the marketplace without EPA review: Adhesives, sealants, and roof and non-roof coatings; arc chutes; beater-add gaskets; cement products; extruded sealant tape and other tape; filler for acetylene cylinders; friction materials (with certain exceptions); high-grade electrical paper; millboard; missile liner; packings; pipeline wrap; reinforced plastics; roofing felt; separators in fuel cells and batteries; vinyl-asbestos floor tile; woven products; any other building material; and any other use of asbestos that is neither ongoing nor already prohibited under TSCA.

The rule prohibits these discontinued uses of asbestos from restarting without EPA having an opportunity to evaluate each intended use (i.e., significant new use) for potential risks to health and the environment and take any necessary regulatory action, which may include a prohibition.

This SNUR keeps all prior asbestos prohibitions in place and would not amend them in any way.

Who may be affected by the rule?

Companies engaged in the manufacture (including import), process, or distribute in commerce asbestos as it is defined by the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Potentially affected entities may include:

  • Construction (NAICS code 23);
  • Manufacturing (NAICS codes 31—33);
  • Wholesale Trade (NAICS code 42); and
  • Transportation (NAICS code 48).

Click here to read the complete rule on the Federal Register.

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