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Asbestos Ban Approved by Senate Committee

S. 742, Ban Asbestos in American Act of 2007, Approved by Senate Environment and Public Works Committee

he Ban Asbestos in America Act of 2007 (S. 742) was unanimously approved by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and has been put on the Senate calendar for further action this fall. The bill represents the third attempt by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) to halt the import, manufacture, processing, and distribution of asbestos products in the United States. S. 742 is necessary because we still import thousands of tons of asbestos. Also, asbestos is part of many 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, continue to be imported in record numbers. This year, asbestos ban legislation has bipartisan support and a greater chance of passage. "To the families who have been waiting for help, to the workers who need to be protected, I'd say we're almost there," Sen. Murray said (Seattle Post-Intelligencer, July 31, 2007). S. 742 Would Fund Asbestos Disease Research Besides halting the sale and import of asbestos, S. 742 would create a $50 million, 10-center "Asbestos-Related Disease Research and Treatment Network" to improve the detection and treatment of asbestos diseases, including the aggressive cancer, mesothelioma. A new National Asbestos-Related Disease Registry would be established. The asbestos ban would not go into effect until two years after S. 742 became law. The chlorine industry would have three years in which to phase out the use of asbestos in its manufacturing process. The Library of Congress (Thomas) web site contains the text of S. 742 as well as a summary of the bill. The web site of the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works includes complete testimonies of experts at a hearing on S. 742. 

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