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EPA/OCSPP RIN: 2070-AK86 Publication ID: Fall 2022 
Title: Asbestos Part 1: Chrysotile Asbestos; Regulation of Certain Conditions of Use Under Section 6(a) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) 
Abstract:

On April 12, 2022, EPA proposed a rule under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to address the unreasonable risk of injury to health that EPA identified for conditions of use of chrysotile asbestos following completion of the TSCA Risk Evaluation for Asbestos, part 1: Chrysotile Asbestos. TSCA requires that EPA address the unreasonable risks of injury to health and environment by rule and to apply requirements to the extent necessary so that chrysotile asbestos no longer presents such risks. Therefore, to address the unreasonable risk identified in the TSCA Risk Evaluation for Asbestos, part 1 from chrysotile asbestos, EPA proposed to prohibit manufacture (including import), processing, distribution in commerce and commercial use of chrysotile asbestos for chrysotile asbestos diaphragms for use in the chlor-alkali industry, chrysotile asbestos-containing sheet gaskets used in chemical production, chrysotile asbestos-containing brake blocks used in the oil industry, aftermarket automotive chrysotile asbestos-containing brakes/linings, other chrysotile asbestos-containing vehicle friction products, and other chrysotile asbestos-containing gaskets. EPA also proposed to prohibit manufacture (including import), processing, and distribution in commerce of aftermarket automotive chrysotile asbestos-containing brakes/linings for consumer use, and other chrysotile asbestos-containing gaskets for consumer use. Finally, EPA also proposed disposal and recordkeeping requirements for these conditions of use. EPA is reviewing the comments received and intends to develop a final rule.

 
Agency: Environmental Protection Agency(EPA)  Priority: Economically Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Final Rule Stage 
Major: Yes  Unfunded Mandates: Private Sector 
CFR Citation: 40 CFR 751   
Legal Authority: 15 U.S.C. 2605 Toxic Substances Control Act   
Legal Deadline:
Action Source Description Date
NPRM  Statutory  TSCA sec. 6(c)  12/28/2021 
Final  Statutory  TSCA sec. 6(c)  12/28/2022 

Statement of Need:

This rulemaking is needed to address the unreasonable risk of chrysotile asbestos identified in the Risk Evaluation for Asbestos Part I: Chrysotile Asbestos completed under TSCA section 6(b). EPA reviewed the exposures and hazards of the chrysotile asbestos uses evaluated in the risk evaluation, the magnitude of risk, exposed populations, severity of the hazard, uncertainties, and other factors. EPA sought input from the public and peer reviewers as required by TSCA and associated regulations.

Summary of the Legal Basis:

In accordance with TSCA section 6(a), if EPA determines in a final risk evaluation completed under TSCA 6(b) that the manufacture, processing, distribution in commerce, use, or disposal of a chemical substance or mixture, or that any combination of such activities, presents an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment, the Agency must issue regulations requiring one or more of the following actions to the extent necessary so that the chemical substance no longer presents an unreasonable risk: (1) Prohibit or otherwise restrict manufacture, processing, or distribution in commerce; (2) Prohibit or otherwise restrict for a particular use or above a set concentration; (3) Require minimum warnings and instructions with respect to use, distribution in commerce, or disposal; (4) Require recordkeeping or testing; (5) Prohibit or regulate any manner or method of commercial use; (6) Prohibit or regulate any manner or method of disposal; and/or (7) Direct manufacturers or processors to give notice of the unreasonable risk to distributors and replace or repurchase products if required.

Alternatives:

TSCA section 6(a) requires EPA to address by rule chemical substances that the Agency determines present unreasonable risk upon completion of a final risk evaluation. As required under TSCA section 6(c), EPA considered one or more primary alternative regulatory actions as part of the development of the proposed rule. The primary alternative regulatory action considered by EPA in the proposed rule is to: prohibit manufacture (including import), processing, distribution in commerce and commercial use of chrysotile asbestos in bulk form or as part of: Chrysotile asbestos diaphragms in the chlor-alkali industry and for chrysotile asbestos-containing sheet gaskets in chemical production (with prohibitions taking effect five years after the effective date of the final rule) and require, prior to the prohibition taking effect, compliance with an existing chemicals exposure limit (ECEL) for the processing and commercial use of chrysotile asbestos for these uses; and to prohibit manufacture (including import), processing, distribution in commerce, and commercial use of chrysotile asbestos-containing brake blocks in the oil industry; aftermarket automotive chrysotile asbestos-containing brakes/linings; and other vehicle friction products (with prohibitions taking effect two years after the effective date of the final rule and with additional requirements for disposal). The primary alternative regulatory action considered in the proposed rule also included prohibitions on manufacture (including import), processing, and distribution in commerce of aftermarket automotive chrysotile asbestos-containing brakes/linings for consumer use and other chrysotile asbestos-containing gaskets for consumer use (with prohibitions taking effect two years after the effective date of the final rule). The primary alternative regulatory action also would require disposal of chrysotile asbestos-containing materials in a manner identical to the proposed option, with additional provisions for downstream notification and signage and labeling. EPA did not consider additional alternative regulatory actions in the proposed rule.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits:

As estimated in the proposed rule, converting the asbestos diaphragm cells to membrane cells in response to the proposed rule is predicted to require an incremental investment of approximately $1.8 billion across all nine plants predicted to be using asbestos diaphragms when the rule goes into effect. Compared to this baseline trend, the incremental net effect of the proposed rule on the chlor-alkali industry over a 20-year period using a 3 percent discount rate is estimated to range from an annualized cost of about $49 million per year to annualized savings of approximately $35 million per year, depending on whether the higher grade of caustic soda produced by membrane cells continues to command a premium price. Using a 7 percent discount rate, the incremental annualized net effect ranges from a cost of $87 million per year to savings of approximately $40,000 per year, again depending on whether there are revenue gains from the caustic soda production. EPA also estimates that approximately 1,800 sets of automotive brakes or brake linings containing asbestos may be imported into the U.S. each year, representing 0.002% of the total U.S. market for aftermarket brakes. The cost of a prohibition would be minimal due to the ready availability of alternative products that are only slightly more expensive (an average cost increase of $4 per brake). The proposed rule is estimated to result in total annualized costs for aftermarket automotive brakes of approximately $25,000 per year using a 3% discount rate and $18,000 per year using a 7% discount rate. EPA did not have information to estimate the costs of prohibiting asbestos for the remaining uses subject to the proposed rule (sheet gaskets used in chemical production, brake blocks in the oil industry, other vehicle friction products, or other gaskets), so there are additional unquantified costs. EPA believes that the use of these asbestos-containing products has declined over time, and that they are now used in at most small segments of the industries. EPA's Economic Analysis for the proposed rule quantified the benefits from avoided cases of lung cancer, mesothelioma, ovarian cancer, and laryngeal cancer due to reduced asbestos exposures to workers, occupational non-users (ONUs), and DIYers related to the rule's requirements for chlor-alkali diaphragms, sheet gaskets for chemical production, and aftermarket brakes. The combined national quantified benefits of avoided cancer cases associated with these products are approximately $3,100 per year using a 3% discount rate and $1,200 per year using a 7% discount rate, based on the cancer risk estimates from the Part 1 risk evaluation. EPA did not estimate the aggregate benefits of the requirements for oilfield brake blocks, other vehicle friction products or other gaskets because the Agency did not have sufficient information on the number of individuals likely to be affected by the proposed rule. Thus, as proposed, the rule may yield additional unquantified benefits from reducing exposures associated with these uses. There would also be unquantified benefits due to other avoided adverse health effects associated with asbestos exposure including respiratory effects (e.g., asbestosis, non-malignant respiratory disease, deficits in pulmonary function, diffuse pleural thickening and pleural plaques) and immunological and lymphoreticular effects. In addition to the benefits of avoided adverse health effects associated with chrysotile asbestos exposure, the proposed rule is expected to generate significant benefits from reduced air pollution associated with electricity generation. Based on a sensitivity screening-level analysis that EPA conducted, converting asbestos diaphragm cells to membrane cells could yield tens of millions of dollars per year in environmental and health benefits from reduced emissions of particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and carbon dioxide.

Risks:

In the TSCA Risk Evaluation for Asbestos, Part 1: Chrysotile Asbestos, EPA determined there is unreasonable risk of injury to health from conditions of use of chrysotile asbestos. The health endpoint driving EPA's determination of unreasonable risk for chrysotile asbestos under the conditions of use is cancer from inhalation exposure. This unreasonable risk includes the risk of mesothelioma, lung cancer, and other cancers from chronic inhalation.

Timetable:
Action Date FR Cite
NPRM  04/12/2022  87 FR 21706   
Final Rule  10/00/2023 
Additional Information: EPA-HQ-OPPT-2021-0057.
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No  Government Levels Affected: Federal 
Small Entities Affected: Businesses  Federalism: Yes 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
International Impacts: This regulatory action will be likely to have international trade and investment effects, or otherwise be of international interest.
RIN Information URL: https://www.epa.gov/assessing-and-managing-chemicals-under-tsca/risk-management-asbestos-part-1-chrysotile-asbestos  
Sectors Affected: 211 Oil and Gas Extraction; 325 Chemical Manufacturing; 332 Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing; 336 Transportation Equipment Manufacturing; 339991 Gasket, Packing, and Sealing Device Manufacturing; 4231 Motor Vehicle and Motor Vehicle Parts and Supplies Merchant Wholesalers; 441 Motor Vehicle and Parts Dealers; 8111 Automotive Repair and Maintenance 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Agency Contact:
Robert Courtnage
Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Mail Code 7404T,
Washington, DC 20460
Phone:202 566-1081
Email: courtnage.robert@epa.gov

Peter Gimlin
Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Mail Code 7404T,
Washington, DC 20460
Phone:202 566-0515
Fax:202 566-0473
Email: gimlin.peter@epa.gov