Sen. Murray Sees Progress for Bill Banning Asbestos

S. 742 Has Support from Medical Experts and Public at Large

SEATTLE, WA — July 13, 2007 — Sen. Patty Murray recently held a press conference to announce progress in the fight to halt the sale, import and production of asbestos in the United States (Press Release, July 6, 2007). The legislation that Sen. Murray first introduced in March, the Ban Asbestos in America Act of 2007 (S. 742), will be considered or "marked up" by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee later this month, a move that reflects bipartisan support for the bill, according to Sen. Murray.

Many people still believe that asbestos has been banned in the United States, but this is not the case. We continue to import thousands of tons of asbestos. Also, asbestos is part of hundreds of products, including floor tiles, ceiling tiles, pipe, insulation, siding, joint compounds, roofing felts, cement, drywall, packing, gaskets and automobile and train brakes. Some of these products, such as asbestos–containing automobile brakes, are still being imported in record numbers. They also remain on the shelves of auto shops, sometimes without proper warning labels.

The Ban Asbestos in America Act is needed to prohibit the importation, manufacture, processing and distribution of products containing asbestos. It would also expand research into asbestos diseases by creating a $50 million, 10–center "Asbestos–Related Disease Research and Treatment Network" as well as a public awareness campaign to inform Americans of the dangers of asbestos.

Medical Experts Support Murray's Asbestos Bill

Dr. Eric Vallieres of the Swedish Cancer Institute in Seattle and Dr. Fred Appelbaum, head of the Clinical Research Division of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, which is also located in Seattle, were on hand at the news conference to show their strong support of S. 742. Another speaker, Judy Clauson of Aberdeen, WA, recounted how she was exposed to asbestos when washing her husband's work clothes. Ms. Clauson was diagnosed at the age of 44 with the severe asbestos–related cancer, mesothelioma.

"Every day we waste is another day that someone else is exposed to asbestos, someone else gets a deadly diagnosis, and someone else loses a family member to a painful disease," Sen. Murray said. "I'm committed to stopping this cycle."