Bill to Ban Asbestos Introduced to U.S. Senate
On November 2, 2017, The Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act (ARBAN) was introduced in the United States Senate. If passed, the bill will expedite the EPA’s current asbestos evaluation and regulation standards and would also enact steps to ban asbestos within 18 months.
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), a senior senator who is on the Environment and Public Works Committee, first introduced the bill. It was co-sponsored by 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). So far, the bill has received strong support from Senators.
The proposed bill will not only save lives, but will also save the EPA a significant amount of time and money. More importantly, ARBAN would prevent harmful exemptions that allow the chloralkali industry to continue its dangerous use of asbestos. In fact, it is estimated that more than 15,000 Americans die each year from exposure to asbestos.
ARBAN sponsor Sen. Merkley stated, “It’s outrageous that in the year 2017, asbestos is still allowed in the United States. 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.” If passed, ARBAN would be a significant step towards improving the public’s health and safety.
The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) has expressed its gratitude to the Senators who are championing this bill. Without their dedication and generous efforts, the bill would never have been introduced and we would not be as close as we are to an asbestos-free future.
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