Washington, DC — The Environmental Protection Agency has approved a $6.7 billion mill board for asbestos milling in Washington state that is expected to increase the amount of asbestos that can be found in the country.
The EPA on Monday approved the $4.2 billion mill, which is part of a federal mill approval process that was approved in December.
The mill is expected for construction next year and is expected cost about $7 billion, the agency said.
The EPA says it expects the mill to be operational for 15 years.
Environmentalists say the mill could lead to the introduction of asbestos into the air and ground and create more exposure to the toxic material.
The agency says that exposure would be manageable because of the mill’s use of a “safe operating temperature” that can withstand temperatures between 100 degrees and 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
The agency also says the mill will reduce the amount that workers breathe in asbestos dust.
The mill would also be used for cleaning and maintenance.EPA officials said the mill would be able to operate safely without the use of asbestos and would not pose health risks to workers.
It is the first mill in the nation approved by the EPA for asbestos use, the department said in a statement.
The government has been using asbestos removal chemicals since the late 1980s, and asbestos mill boards have become more popular.