Thoughts on the U.S EPA “2019 FINAL RULE” for Asbestos

The Asbestos Institute is pleased to post this EPA summary of the “2019 Final Rule” for asbestos, commonly referred to as the Significant New Use Rule (SNUR).  This rule has been needed for the last 30 years in the US, to give final closure to legal asbestos use.  Since the 1989 EPA bans on some asbestos products in use at that time, and any new uses, the regulatory door remained open for most asbestos products to be used in this country. These products are referred to in our industry by their OSHA title, “Class II Materials”.  These are most of the construction products you see the building you are in right now (flooring, wallboard, vinyl base, ceiling materials, roofing, etc.).  This new rule has finally closed that door.

It is not that anyone has been using or would want to use these asbestos-containing materials in construction since that time, but the regulatory door has remained open for their use, much to the criticism of the US by other countries and some groups in the US.

EPA is an enforcement agency that works for the executive branch of our government.  It does not make laws – congress only does that.  The agency enforces the laws through regulations which it promulgates from the public law.  It cannot add to that law. With the passage of a fairly recent revision to the Toxic Substance Control Act, the federal law that regulates friable asbestos, EPA had the authority to revisit its controls on asbestos. Short of an outright ban on all ACM, which only Congress has the authority to do, EPA has done the next best thing that it could legally do.  It legally closed that door to almost all asbestos use through this new rule.

Please read EPA’s summary of this new rule.

Bill Cavness, Director

The Asbestos Institute