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Bonamici Bill to Ban Asbestos Advances in House Committee

September 26, 2019
Press Release


WASHINGTON, DC [9/26/19] – Today Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR)’s bill to ban asbestos, the Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act of 2019, passed out of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change. The bill would ban the mining, importation, use, and distribution of asbestos, which is a known carcinogen.


“Today, on National Mesothelioma Awareness Day, the House Energy and Commerce Committee took the critical first step of passing my bill, the Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act, through a subcommittee,” said Rep. Suzanne Bonamici. “I commend Chairmen Pallone and Tonko and Ranking Members Walden and Shimkus for their clear commitment to working in a bipartisan manner to get this legislation through the full committee and passed in the House. It is long past time to protect workers and communities by banning asbestos once and for all, and I look forward to working with the Senate and getting this bill across the finish line.”


Many uses of asbestos are still legal. The bill is named after Alan Reinstein, who passed away in 2006 at the age of 66 after contracting mesothelioma from work-related exposure to asbestos. Alan’s wife, Linda, co-founded the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) in 2004.


"The Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act of 2019 will take long-overdue action to stop hundreds of tons of raw asbestos imports and asbestos containing products from entering the U.S. It will protect all Americans - workers, consumers, and children - from being exposed to this deadly threat," said Linda Reinstein, President of ADAO and widow to the bill's namesake. "Today’s markup was a landmark step to protect communities and families from asbestos. I thank Rep. Bonamici for her work with Chairman Pallone and Chairman Tonko to move this bill through the House.”


Asbestos is still legal in the United States, even though it has been banned in more than 60 other developed countries. Asbestos in all forms is known to be a leading cause of mesothelioma, lung cancer, and other chronic respiratory diseases.


Although the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) included asbestos on its list of the first ten chemicals for risk reviews under the 2016 revised Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), EPA’s safety assessment must be completed before EPA can consider any controls on asbestos, and the EPA is not required to ban it.


The bill is endorsed by AFL-CIO, the American Public Health Association (APHA), Environmental Information Association (EIA), Environmental Working Group (EWG), Global Ban Asbestos Network (GBAN), International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), Less Cancer, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families (SCHF), United States Public Interest Research Groups (U.S. PIRG), Toxic-Free Future.