EPA Finalizes Asbestos Ban

On Monday (3/18), EPA announced a final rule to prohibit ongoing uses of chrysotile asbestos, the only known form of asbestos currently used in or imported to the U.S.. The ban on ongoing uses of asbestos is the first rule to be finalized under the 2016 amendments to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

EPA proposed this rule in 2022, and ASDWA submitted comments about the potential impacts on the chlor-alkali sector where eight chlor-alkali manufacturing facilities use asbestos diaphrams for the production of chlorine gas and sodium hypochlorite that are critical for disinfection and protecting public health. EPA is banning the import of asbestos for chlor-alkali use immediately to close the door forever on the use of asbestos by this sector. The eight remaining facilities that use asbestos must transition to either non-asbestos diaphragms or to non-asbestos membrane technology, and the final rule ensures that six of the eight will have completed this transition within five years, with the remaining two to follow. It remains to be seen the potential impacts on the chlorine availability and pricing.