Limited Ban on Asbestos Products - DOD Can Still Use Asbestos
WASHINGTON, DC - November 30, 2007 - Activists, who fought so hard to pass legislation to ban asbestos in the United States, no longer support the Ban Asbestos in America Act legislation. They suspect the bill was altered at the last minute to include the continued use of certain asbestos-containing products. Industry lobbyists could be to blame. In March 2007, Senator Patty Murray re-introduced the asbestos bill, designed to ban the import, manufacture, processing and distribution of products containing asbestos. Unfortunately, there were last minute changes to the legislation between the time that the bill was reviewed by the Senate Judiciary Committee in June, and when it was finally voted on by the Senate in October.
Is the Asbestos Ban Now Only a Limited Ban on Asbestos?
Witnesses that testified against the dangers of asbestos and helped the bill's safe passage are now voicing their concerns. Linda Reinstein, executive director of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, was one of the witnesses who testified. She lost her husband to mesothelioma, a cancer caused from exposure to asbestos. Now she is worried that the bill was tampered with by industry lobbyists. "We all knew that compromises had to be made to get this legislation passed but I didn't anticipate that industry would successfully intervene at the last minute." (Seattle Post-Intelligencer, November 5, 2007)
Dr. Michael Harbut, one of the health experts who testified at the June hearing expressed his concern for the limitations of the bill. "We need to be truthful with the public. This should be called the limited asbestos ban act," said Harbut, who is co-director of the National Center for Vermiculite and Asbestos-Related Cancers at the Karmanos Cancer Institute. (Seattle Post-Intelligencer, November 5, 2007)
Asbestos Industry Loopholes in the Ban Asbestos in America Act
Despite the known health risks from exposure to asbestos, the asbestos bill provides loopholes for the asbestos industry rather than banning asbestos completely from import and use in the United States.
- It does not ban many of the asbestos-containing products used by the Department of Defense (DOD), including the Army, Navy, Air Force, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Rather, the Ban Asbestos in America Act of 2007 "requires the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to promulgate regulations that prohibit the importing, manufacturing, processing, or distributing of asbestos-containing products, subject to limited exemption upon petition and specified exemptions sought by the Department of Defense (DOD) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)."
- Although the bill "requires the disposal of asbestos-containing materials within two years," it "exempts products that are no longer in the stream of commerce or that are in the possession of an end user." (WashingtonWatch.com)
In spite of its shortcomings, Senator Patty Murray, a leader in the fight to ban asbestos in the United States, continues to applaud the passage of the asbestos bill. According to Senator Murray, the ban is "a major step forward, and I passionately wish it covered all asbestos products." Senator Murray went on to state, "If I was just Patty Murray and I didn't have to worry about getting other votes or a Republican president or that I have a one-vote majority in the United States Senate, I'd have a 100 percent ban." (Seattle Post-Intelligencer, November 5, 2007)
Asbestos Exposure and Your Legal Rights
With our main office located in California, the asbestos attorneys at Brayton Purcell have been extensively involved in protecting the legal rights of asbestos victims, including injured workers and their families for over 24 years. Many of our clients suffer from asbestosis, mesothelioma, asbestos lung cancer, or other asbestos-related diseases. If you would like to request more information about how our asbestos attorneys can help you, you may contact us through this web site or call 800-720-4981.