Posted on December 31, 2020
As 2020 comes to an end, we want to thank each and every one of you for your support during this trying year. While adjusting to the novel coronavirus pandemic, ADAO was still able to make great strides in our legal and legislative strategies to ban asbestos and protect public health. As we look forward to 2021, ADAO is ready to renew our efforts in the new Congress, which convenes in January, to pass the Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now (ARBAN) Act (H.R. 1603 and S. 717).
We have made enormous progress in moving ARBAN forward on a bipartisan basis and are heartened by the support it has received from many stakeholders and leading scientists. The pandemic brought unprecedented changes to all of our lives and Congress rightfully dedicated much of this year to helping the country stay afloat. Nonetheless, we have full faith that H.R. 1603, the most comprehensive asbestos ban bill to come before Congress in 30 years, will pass in the new year after the historic progress it has made so far in 2020.
In the past four years, EPA has made no meaningful progress on addressing asbestos under the 2016 Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act (LCSA). However, the Biden-Harris administration has already made it clear that they plan to take asbestos exposure and asbestos-related illnesses seriously. We look forward to working with them on a host of issues, including strengthening EPA’s flawed risk evaluation, requiring Right-to-Know reporting on asbestos use and exposure, addressing the risks of legacy asbestos and protecting children and teachers from asbestos exposure in schools.
We hope you will join us in calling your Congressional members in the new year and urging them to pass ARBAN, and remind them to use the first 100 days of the new Biden/Harris Administration to address the dangers of asbestos exposure, including but not limited to where it is imported and used, the issues of legacy asbestos, and EPA’s failure to address the consistent health risk posed by asbestos. We have seen landmark success in our attempts to ban asbestos over the past few years, but now is the time to finally ban the known carcinogen once and for all. With your help, we believe we can do that in 2021.
We ended the year on a high note: On December 22, District Court Judge Edward J. Chen decisively ruled that companies are required to report asbestos imports and use under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). This legal victory will help us further our push for a comprehensive ban in Congress in 2021.
As we all know, a ban with no loopholes or exceptions by Congress is the best and most immediate way to eliminate asbestos from U.S. commerce and save lives. Although there will be some new Congressional members, we expect that ARBAN will continue to have strong bipartisan support, as protecting public health and saving American lives is something members from both sides of the aisle can, and do, agree on.
Our goals for 2021 are not limited to our ARBAN goals, but also include the following:
- Organize our 16th Annual Asbestos Awareness and Prevention Conference
- Advocate for health-protective regulation of asbestos-containing talc in industrial and consumer products
- Hold EPA accountable to Judge Chen’s ruling and to compel the agency to require comprehensive reporting on asbestos imports and use under TSCA
- Ensure the EPA evaluates the risks of asbestos legacy products in homes, schools, and workplaces under TSCA as required by the Ninth Circuit decision
- Hold EPA accountable if the final risk evaluation for asbestos does not implement the recommendations of its own scientific advisory committee and the scientific community and continue to advocate for a health-protective evaluation
- If EPA regulates asbestos under TSCA based on its risk evaluation, advocate elimination of all ongoing asbestos uses
Thank you again for all your support during this trying year. With you by our side, we look forward to taking additional landmark steps together in 2021.
You are the reason we work as hard as we do, and we promise to continue to strive for the ultimate goal: an asbestos ban and to save hundreds of thousands of American lives.