The EPA efuses to explain this, even though their own scientists have know for years of the extreme danger in even disturbing asbestos-laden vermiculite.
The insulation, Zonolite, was sold until the late 1990s.
"For decades, the EPA has known about the risks Zonolite could pose to millions of American households," said Alex Formuzis of the Environmental Working Group. "Labeling this inaction an outrage is an understatement. Why EPA cannot move forward with warning the public about this potentially deadly house guest living in their attics is hard for most folks to understand."
Formuzis blames politics, internal agency disputes and old-fashioned foot dragging for the reasons.
Health and safety experts said "higher-ups" warned them not to talk to reporters because it might embarrass the EPA. Some claim those opposed to the warnings included political appointees and EPA '"old-timers "who had known about vermiculite's dangers in 1982.
Since 2001, three EPA directors have broken promises to publicly announce the dangers of vermiculate. Experts say it wouldn't cost the EPA anything to warn the public, and it would probably save some lives.
"Some of those [in EPA] who are allowing the failure to adequately warn to continue really don't have any personal experience with asbestos diseases and cancers, and don't realize the high cost of their behavior," said Dr. Michael Harbut. Harbut is a doctor at the Karmanos Cancer Institute's National Center for Vermiculite and Asbestos-Related Cancers.
Many are wondering why the EPA refuses to tell people that their lives may be in danger. It's won't cost anything, and doesn't require new laws.
Jennifer Sass from the National Resources Defense Council constantly deals with the EPA. She, too, wonders why the agency is shirking its duty to protect the public.
"There is a nationwide rising sentiment that we don't need government in our lives, but this story proves otherwise," Sass said. "What we need is strong federal regulations to rein in corporate malefactors and to warn the public about harms now, before it's too late to protect our loved ones. Anything less is a deadly game of passing the buck."