The Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) is requesting that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) designate asbestos as one of the first 10 high-priority substances under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Amended by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act and signed into law in June, TSCA now provides the EPA with increased authority to regulate chemicals already in commerce, such as asbestos.
MEMA’s letter to the EPA, sent on Sept. 6, requests the high-priority status for asbestos and asks the agency to include brake friction materials in the scope of its risk evaluation. MEMA has worked with members of the Brake Manufacturers Council (BMC) on this issue, which is a top concern of U.S. brake friction materials manufacturers.
U.S. manufacturers phased out asbestos use in brake friction materials, but brake products containing asbestos are still imported and sold in the U.S. In 2015, a Department of Commerce report stated that approximately $2.2 million in brake friction materials containing asbestos was imported into the U.S. in 2013. According to the report, China and Canada are the largest suppliers of U.S. imports of brake friction materials containing asbestos.
In its letter, MEMA noted, “The continued importation of asbestos – containing brakes and brake component material presents an unreasonable risk to the health of American workers, particularly those who install and repair brakes containing asbestos, and to the general public, particularly do-it-yourselfers who replace their own brakes.”