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Bonamici Leads Effort to Protect Public Health, Ban Deadly Asbestos

February 27, 2018
Press Release


WASHINGTON, DC [02/27/18] – Today Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) introduced legislation to protect public health and ban asbestos.

Still legal in the United States, asbestos—a known carcinogen—is a fiber that is still found in insulation and fireproofing materials in homes, commercial buildings, and common products such as paint and construction materials. Each year, as many as 15,000 people die from asbestos-related diseases, and 3,000 people are diagnosed with Mesothelioma, a deadly form of cancer typically caused by exposure to asbestos. In 2016, Congress passed the Toxic Substances Control Act, which required the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to undertake a safety assessment of asbestos. That assessment has not been completed.

“We have known about the dangers of asbestos for decades, and many countries have banned it for good reason. It’s past time for Congress to take action and save lives,” said Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici. “Congress and the EPA must immediately work together to protect the health of our communities from this known carcinogen. Families in Oregon and around the country have lost parents, children, and loved ones to asbestos-related diseases, and there is no reason more families should have to suffer. We must protect our communities and make sure that nobody else is exposed to this deadly toxin.”

Bonamici introduced the Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act, which amends the Toxic Substances Control Act to require the EPA to complete the assessment, and within 18 months impose a ban on asbestos. You can read more on the legislation here.

“ADAO is extremely thankful to Rep. Bonamici for the introduction of the House companion 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.”

The Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act is supported in the House by Representatives 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), and Steve Cohen (D-TN). Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) introduced similar legislation in the Senate.