The Washington National Air Quality Management Agency has issued a warning about asbestos, warning of possible health risks, including lung cancer.
The advisory is the first to say the material poses a risk to the respiratory system.
“While there is no evidence of any significant health problems from asbestos exposure, we believe that it is important to emphasize that asbestos exposure to workers and the general public is not a trivial concern,” the advisory said.
The WNAEM advisory comes a week after the EPA issued a separate warning about exposure to asbestos-containing paint in the United States.
That advisory warned of a risk of cancer, asthma, and cardiovascular problems in those exposed to asbestos.WNAE is notifying people to wear respirators while handling asbestos-contaminated or damaged material.EPA spokeswoman Joanne Kelly said it was the agency’s job to identify the highest and lowest risk levels for asbestos exposure.”EPA has been working closely with industry partners, federal agencies and state and local health departments to identify high and low asbestos exposure levels,” she said.
Agency officials declined to provide a list of companies that had tested positive for asbestos in the past.
“We are working closely in this process with the industry to make sure we identify companies who are in compliance with current regulations,” Kelly said.EPA’s latest notice came a week before President Donald Trump’s administration announced plans to close the federal asbestos program.
The Environmental Protection Agency said on Tuesday that it would stop issuing permits for new construction projects that require asbestos testing, including the construction of new homes, factories, hotels, office buildings and other buildings.
That action, which is expected to save the industry $100 million a year, is expected later this month.EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said at a news conference that he was confident the agency would stay in the asbestos business.