Proposed Legislation Benefits Asbestos Companies, Not Asbestos Victims

Asbestos Legislation Denies Court Access and Eliminates Liability

WASHINGTON, DC - May 18, 2005 - A new report reveals who would benefit most by the passage of the asbestos bill, S. 852. The list includes at least 10 asbestos product manufacturers that have filed for bankruptcy plus Dow Chemical, Ford, General Electric, General Motors, Honeywell, Pfizer, and Viacom. Their contributions to asbestos victims would drop drastically-by over $20 billion-should S. 852 become law, according to the study by the consumer group, Public Citizen. The losers are those suffering fromasbestos-related cancers. They would be forced to have their claims settled through an inadequate trust fund, and would no longer have access to the courts.

The Public Citizen report found that, under S. 852:

  • Asbestos companies would see their total payments on behalf of asbestos victims decline by margins ranging from 40% to 100%.
  • At least eight Fortune 500 companies would have their annual asbestos payments to the trust fund capped at $27.5 million per year for 30 years no matter how large their revenues or how many asbestos cases they have pending against them. Their maximum liability would be about $378.5 million under S. 852. Dow Chemical alone otherwise projects its future asbestos liability at between $1.6 billion and $2.2 billion over the next 15 years.

"The Senate should not allow this legislation to become a feeding frenzy for companies that from all indications care more about their bottom lines than for the lives of the Americans their products harmed and for whom this legislation was intended" commented Frank Clemente, director of Public Citizen's Congress Watch (Press Release, May 10, 2005).

Current Status of S. 852

The Senate Judiciary Committee must consider over 80 amendments to S. 852. Nevertheless, some expect the measure will reach the Senate floor by the Memorial Day recess. Others believe that a vote on the bill will be delayed due to conflicts in the Senate over judicial nominees.

Because S. 852 may reach the Senate floor, we urge you to contact your Senators and tell them to oppose S. 852 or any similarasbestos trust fund legislation. You can find your Senators' names, emails, and telephone numbers on the U.S. Senate web site.