Press Release |U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon: “SENATORS INTRODUCE BILL TO BAN ASBESTOS, PROTECT PUBLIC HEALTH”
For Immediate Release: November 2, 2017
The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) Applauds Sen. Merkley and Original Cosponsors for Introducing The Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act
Bill Expedites the Ability for the EPA to Ban Asbestos
November 2, 2017 — WASHINGTON–The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), an independent nonprofit dedicated to preventing asbestos exposure; today applauds Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR)—along with original cosponsors Cory Booker (D-NJ), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)—for the introduction of The Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act of 2017 (ARBAN). The act would expedite a ban on asbestos imports and uses of the hazardous substance, both current and future.
With this Act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would be able 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 passed last summer.
In addition to saving lives with the expedited ban, ARBAN is also expected to save the EPA time and money, while preventing harmful exemptions that could allow the chlor-alkali industry to continue its dangerous use of asbestos. With the increase in asbestos imports and more than 15,000 Americans dying each year from asbestos exposure, the timing of the bill is critical.
“It’s outrageous that in the year 2017, asbestos is still allowed in the United States,” said Merkley. “It’s time for us to catch up to the rest of the developed world, and ban this dangerous public health threat once and for all.”
“ADAO is extremely thankful to Senators Merkley and the original cosponsors for the introduction of The Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act of 2017,” said Linda Reinstein, President of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) and widow to the bill’s namesake. “The U.S. is the only western industrialized nation that has not banned asbestos. We watch with relief as we see the Canadian ban about to go into effect next year, and we are extremely hopeful that we can soon follow in our neighbor’s footsteps. Asbestos imports are on the rise as the chemical industry continues shamefully to seek a way to profit from a known carcinogen, putting the lives of miners from other countries at risk, as well as those exposed during and after production. As Libby, Montana taught us, the mining and use of asbestos causes harm that spans decades and generations. We must deal with asbestos at our own borders. We are hopeful that ARBAN can make asbestos a thing of the past in this nation.”
Early supporters for ARBAN include: the American Public Health Association (APHA), Center for Asbestos Related Disease (CARD), Libby, MT, Environmental Information Association (EIA), Environmental Working Group (EWG), Global Ban Asbestos Network (GBAN), Less Cancer, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families (SCHF), and internationally, Associação Brasileira dos Expostos ao Amianto (ABREA).
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About the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization
The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) is a global leader in combining education, advocacy, and community initiatives to prevent and end asbestos exposure. ADAO seeks to raise public awareness about the dangers of asbestos, advocate for an asbestos ban, and protect asbestos victims’ civil rights. ADAO, a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, does not make legal referrals. For more information, visit www.asbestosdiseaseawareness.org.