Updated on December 28, 2018
The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) applauds Congressional leaders in the U.S. Senate and House for their bicameral support for the Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act (ARBAN): S.2072 and H.R.5114.
With this Act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would be permitted to make the manufacture, processing, use, commercial distribution, and disposal of asbestos illegal after 18 months of its passage. This is in stark contrast to the current review cycle that can take up to 7 years, as mandated by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act that was signed into law in June 2016.
Annually, nearly 40,000 Americans are estimated to die from preventable asbestos-related diseases, yet the imports and use continue. As U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reported, “The chloralkali industry, which uses asbestos to manufacture semipermeable diaphragms that prevent chlorine generated at the anode of an electrolytic cell from reacting with sodium hydroxide generated at the cathode, accounted for nearly 100% of asbestos mineral consumption in 2017, based on bill of lading information obtained from a commercial trade database. In addition to asbestos minerals, an unknown quantity of asbestos was imported within manufactured products, including asbestos containing brake linings, knitted fabric, rubber sheets for gasket manufacture, and potentially asbestos-cement pipe.”
ARBAN is sponsored by Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR). Cosponsors include: Cory Booker (D-NJ), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Jon Tester (D-MT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).
ARBAN is sponsored by Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR). Cosponsors include: Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Jim McGovern (D-MA), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Paul Tonko (D-NY), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM), Jared Huffman (D-CA), Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Gwen Moore (D-WI), and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC).
Additional support for ARBAN: the American Public Health Association (APHA); Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, Center for Asbestos Related Disease (CARD) Libby, MT; Environmental Information Association (EIA); Environmental Working Group (EWG); Global Ban Asbestos Network (GBAN); International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF); International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers (HFIAW); Less Cancer; Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC); National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH): Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families (SCHF); United States Public Interest Research Groups (U.S. PIRG); Toxic-Free Future; and internationally, Associação Brasileira dos Expostos ao Amianto (ABREA).
It is time for Congress to take action to allow the EPA to ban asbestos once and for all. We are deeply grateful to our Congressional allies who are committed to protecting public health. Take action, it’s quick and impactful – Call your reps and request that they cosponsor ARBAN! Together, change is possible.