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Scientists’ Critique of EPA’s Draft Asbestos Analysis Delayed

April 20, 2020, 8:32 PM

The Environmental Protection Agency is postponing a science advisory panel’s April 27-30 critique of the agency’s draft analysis of the risks posed by asbestos, the EPA announced Monday.

Not enough members of the Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals (SACC) could attend the virtual meeting the EPA had scheduled, the agency said.

Some panel members already had asked the agency to delay the asbestos peer review when they met in March to critique a draft analysis of trichloroethylene’s risks.

Health and environmental groups also urged the EPA to delay, saying the health professionals serving on the committee needed to give their full attention to the coronavirus crisis.

“The SACC meeting will be rescheduled as soon as practicable,” the agency said. Public comments on the agency’s draft risk evaluation are still due June 2, but the agency could revisit that deadline, it said.

EPA’s asbestos risk evaluation is the most-watched chemical analysis the agency has undertaken since Congress overhauled the Toxic Substances Control Act four years ago. Frustration about the agency’s inability to ban most uses of the cancer-causing mineral under the original 1976 TSCA helped bring Republicans and Democrats together in 2016 to amend the statute.

Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, EPA’s assistant administrator for chemical safety and pollution prevention, already had acknowledged the agency would be unable to issue its final asbestos risk analysis by June as required by the amended law. Monday’s announcement puts the agency further behind.

To contact the reporter on this story: Pat Rizzuto in Washington at prizzuto@bloombergenvironment.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Gregory Henderson at ghenderson@bloombergenvironment.com

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