Posted on May 1, 2019

The U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on the Environment and Climate Change will hold the “Ban Asbestos Now: Taking Action to Save Lives and Livelihood” legislative hearing on Wednesday, May 8, 2019, at 10:00 AM EDT in room 2322 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The Committee – which is chaired by asbestos safety champion Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY) – organized the hearing to collect the advice of experts regarding the Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now (ARBAN) Act.

This hearing is the second step on ARBAN’s journey to becoming a law. During the proceedings, witnesses will present their opinions on the merits of the bill. The committee will then decide whether or not to amend the bill, send it to the house floor for a vote, or table it.

“It’s devastating that asbestos continues to kill nearly 40,000 Americans every year considering that the Environmental Protection Agency began the process of banning it 40 years ago,” said Chairmen Pallone and Tonko. “The delays must end. Our hearing will focus on an important public health bill that would ban asbestos in its entirety. We look forward to hearing from expert witnesses and affected families about the profound health risks of asbestos as we consider this legislation.”

Currently, ARBAN promises to:

  • Ban the importation, manufacture, processing, and distribution of all forms of asbestos and asbestos-containing mixtures and articles within 12 months, including products in which asbestos is present as an impurity;
  • Establish a new Right-to-Know program to require current importers, processors and distributors to report and disclose to the public how much asbestos is in U.S. commerce, where and how it is used, and who is exposed;  
  • Require EPA and the Departments of Labor and Human Services to conduct a comprehensive study of risks presented by the presence of asbestos in the millions of residences, businesses, factories, public buildings and schools, where it was used in building construction decades ago; and
  • Impose these requirements on the extremely hazardous Libby Amphibole, richterite, winchite, as well as the other six asbestos fibers: chrysotile, actinolite, amosite, anthophyllite, crocidolite, and tremolite.

Several of ARBAN’s U.S. House cosponsors will also be present at the hearing, including Representatives Bobby L. Rush (D-IL), Anna G, Eshoo (D-CA), Janice D. Schakowsky (D-IL), Jerry McNerny (D-CA), Paul Tonko (D-NY), Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY), Kurt Schrader (D-OR), Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-MA), Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Nanette Diaz Barragan (D-CA), Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), and Darren Soto (D-FL).

Witnesses Include:

Panel I
Alexandra Dunn, Assistant Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention

Panel II
Linda Reinstein, Co-founder, Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization
Rebecca Reindel, MS, MPH, Senior Safety and Health Specialist, On behalf of the AFL-CIO
Celeste Monforton, DrPH, MPH, Lecturer, Texas State University, On behalf of the American Public Health Association
Mike Walls, Vice President of Regulatory and Technical Affairs, American Chemistry Council

ADAO is thankful for all of ARBAN’s champions and we look forward to hearing the case for this long overdue and life-saving ban.

Together, we will make change happen.

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