The Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday announced a nearly complete ban on the manufacturing and importing of asbestos.
The rule will close loopholes in a decades-old partial ban, and EPA is separately reviewing the limited instances where asbestos is still used in industrial processes or included in products, said Alexandra Dunn, the agency's assistant administrator overseeing chemical regulation.
"We had a very dangerous loophole that we had not addressed," Dunn told CNN on Wednesday. "We're essentially closing the door on these products. We are making sure they cannot come into the marketplace without action from the EPA."
When the agency proposed this Significant New Use Rule, or SNUR, last summer, safety advocates raised concerns that it would allow importers and manufacturers to apply for an EPA permit, and the prohibited uses were narrowly construed. But Dunn said a SNUR is the agency's best regulatory option, considering it does not have the authority for an outright ban.