In March 7th of this year, a bill to ban asbestos was introduced. This bill is entitled The Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act of 2019 (or ARBAN). Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Representative Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), and Representative Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) introduced it.
Last year there was a bill with the same title as this one. Only, it was ‘of 2018’. This bill, if passed, would have amended the Toxic Substances Control Act (or TSCA) to require the EPA to take action to ban asbestos. This year, there are differences. Firstly, the bill will ban the importation, manufacture, processing, and distribution of asbestos in all forms. This will take action 12 months after enactment. This ban includes products that contain asbestos as an impurity. Secondly, it will establish a Right-to-Know program. This will require all manufacturers to disclose to the public which of their products contain asbestos and how much. Also necessary to be disclosed is where and how the asbestos is used and who is exposed to it. Thirdly, this act will require the EPA and the Departments of Labor and Human Services to conduct a study of the risks of asbestos in all buildings. Fourthly, these requirements will be imposed on all types of asbestos, no matter the hazard of the type. Linda Reinstein is proud that this bill is named after her husband, Alan Reinstein, who died from mesothelioma in 2006 after a three year battle with the disease. Senator Jeff Merkley pointed out how outrageous it is that in 2019, asbestos is still allowed and tolerated in the United States. It has long been time for the United States to catch up with the rest of the developed world and ban this extremely dangerous carcinogen once and for all. While the EPA fails to do so, Americans are dying. Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici says asbestos is known to cause disease and death so we should try our hardest to get rid of this known carcinogen. It is, she says, unacceptable that people all over the U.S. continue dying from asbestos-related diseases. She is proud to introduce The Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act of 2019 to ban the manufacture, importation, processing, and sale of all asbestos within the United States. Bonamici thanks her colleagues, Chairman Frank Pallone, and Senator Jeff Merkley and looks forward to continuing working with them to advance this bill that will save lives. Senator Barbara Baxter has her part to share. She says it is long past time that asbestos is banned and those who fought hard to point out the dangers be honored. This bill comes at an important time as current research shows about 40,000 Americans annually are dying from an asbestos-related disease. It is agreed that there is no safe amount of asbestos exposure. Despite all these facts, the Chlor-Alkali Industry continues to import tons of raw asbestos every year. In recent years the amount has even increased. It is reported that in 2018, 750 tons of raw asbestos were imported by the Chlor-Alkali Industry in making chlorine. But even if the American Chlor-Alkali Industry says there isn’t any good alternative to asbestos in making chlorine, the European Chlor-Alkali Industry has found that is wrong. In Europe, alternatives have been found and are widely used. Asbestos is a huge problem in buildings, but not only in buildings. It can be found in the most unlikely places. Asbestos has been reported in two cosmetic articles from Claire’s and one from Justice. Asbestos has also been reported in children’s crayons. Many support The Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act of 2019. Bob Sussman, who is the ADAO counsel and was the head of the EPA under Clinton and Obama, explained why this bill is so important. This legislation, he says, will finally close the door to the mining, importation, processing, and distribution of asbestos and products which contain asbestos within the United States. 30 years ago the EPA tried to do this same thing but were stopped by a court decision. Congress tried to change the TSCA so that the EPA could finish the job, but the EPA under Trump is not up for it. Now it is time for Congress to finish the job. EWG President Ken Cook said it’s hard to imagine a piece of legislation that is easier to support than one that would completely ban asbestos. There have been times, he says, when sections of the capitol building have had to be shut down to deal with asbestos so that the members of congress were not harmed. Now it is time for the members of Congress to do their job and ban asbestos once and for all. Ann Samuelson is an asbestos victim. She says she is so grateful to the Congresswoman Bonamici and Senator Merkley for stepping up and introducing ARBAN to ban asbestos imports and give the public the right to know where asbestos is in their community through supporting this legislation. Although it is really exciting that this bill was introduced, that doesn’t mean it has been passed. More is required for the bill to become law. Luckily we can act to help push it forward to becoming a law. How? Talk to your Senators and Representatives telling them you support this bill and urge them to support it, too. You can also use social media to share what ARBAN means to you. Finally, steps are being taken to ban asbestos. As the United States is beginning to take steps to ban asbestos, why not take your own steps to get the asbestos out of your home. Call us today at (313) 437-4530 for a free quote for asbestos removal and testing.