US Senate Passes The Ban Asbestos in America Act

Support Campaign Raises Awareness for Asbestos Diseases

WASHINGTON, DC — November 9, 2007 — The US Senate unanimously voted to pass The Ban Asbestos in America Act, an encouraging step towards banning the sale or use of asbestos in the United States. The purpose of the measure was to stop the import, manufacture, processing, or distribution of products containing asbestos in the United States. The vote to ban asbestos is great news for many who have waited for so long to see the measure pass. Sen. Patty Murray (D–WA) has been pushing to get the measure through for over six years in what might have seemed like an uphill battle.

"When you go after an issue like this, you're fighting a lot of big–time money. Lobbyists for manufacturers, the sand and gravel folks, people with commercial interest and a lot of clout fought this," Sen. Murray said. "I wasn't surprised that many other [lawmakers] didn't want to get involved because they thought it was impossible." (Senate Passes Murray Bill to Ban Asbestos, October 4, 2007)

Exposure to asbestos can cause devastating illnesses such as the deadly cancer, mesothelioma, asbestos–related lung cancer, asbestosis and a variety of other cancers. The United States currently imports over 30 tons of asbestos each year, and uses the material in over 3,000 products. In the past, products containing asbestos were used in every day life, such as attic insulation, clothing, floor tiles, automobile and train brakes, asbestos cement pipe, talcum powder, vermiculite, cement, and dry wall. Common jobs that risk exposure to asbestos are construction workers, auto mechanics, industrial workers, and those serving in the US Navy or working at shipyards. If the ban of asbestos passes the House and the President signs the bill, it will no longer continue to wreak havoc on all aspects of American life.

The measure is also an effort to raise awareness through public education campaigns about the dangers of asbestos, and expand research and treatment of asbestos–related diseases. Asbestos activists hail the passing of the measure as a victory. Executive Director and Cofounder of Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) Linda Reinstein said, "We praise the Senate for passing Senator Murray's monumental Ban Asbestos in America Act and now encourage the House to follow this important bi–partisan lead for a full ban on asbestos. We also extend a special thanks to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D–NV), Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D–IL), Senator Barbara Boxer (D–CA) and Senator Johnny Isakson (R–GA) for their critical support. We look forward to the day when asbestos disease will no longer needlessly claim lives." (ADAO Praises U.S. Senate for Passing Senator Patty Murray's Ban Asbestos in America Act, October 4, 2007)