The Consumer Product Safety Commission has selected a group of seven scientists to serve as members of a Chronic Hazard Advisory Panel on the Use of Asbestos in Consumer Products. The purpose of the panel will be to provide scientific advice to the Commission concerning the potential chronic hazard of cancer associated with the use of consumer products containing asbestos. The panel is expected to convene in January and will address the concern that the presence of asbestos in consumer products under certain conditions may present a risk of cancer and respiratory disease to consumers. The health hazard may occur when asbestos fibers are released into the air and people inhale them. Inhaled asbestos fibers may become embedded in lung tissue and, once embedded, they may remain there indefinitely. Asbestos fibers that are released from consumer products can remain in the household air for long periods of time and may subject household members to a continuous risk of fiber inhalation.
The Commission emphasizes that the selection of the panel is only the first step toward a decision on whether to take any regulatory action concerning asbestos in consumer products. The Commission has not decided whether to begin any rulemaking.
Members of the panel were selected from candidates recommended by the National Academy of Sciences after a nationwide solicitation. Panel members may not be federal government employees nor may they receive compensation from or have any substantial financial interest in any manufacturer, distributor, or retailer of a consumer product. The members selected were: Janet M. Hughes, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biostatistics, Tulane University; Nancy K. Kim, Ph.D., Bureau of Toxic Substance Assessment, New York State Department of Health; Julian Peto, M.S., Statistician, Imperial Cancer Research Fund, Oxford University; Norton Nelson, Ph.D., Institute of Environmental Medicine, New York University Medical Center; William J. Nicholson, Ph.D., Environmental Science Laboratory, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine; Marvin A. Schneiderman, Ph.D., Clement Associates, Arlington, Va.; Carl M. Shy, M.D., Dr. P.H., Professor of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina.
In carrying out its advisory functions, the panel will review scientific data and other relevant information relating to the potential risks of cancer, birth defects, or gene mutations from asbestos in consumer products. The panel will determine if asbestos is a carcinogen, mutagen, or a teratogen and, if feasible, estimate the probable harm to human health that will result from exposure to asbestos. The report of the panel, which is expected within four months after the panel convenes, must be considered by the Commission and incorporated into any advance notice of proposed rulemaking and final rule.
About the U.S. CPSC
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risk of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product-related incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products has contributed to a decline in the rate of injuries associated with consumer products over the past 50 years.
Federal law prohibits any person from selling products subject to a Commission ordered recall or a voluntary recall undertaken in consultation with the CPSC.
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