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President Signs Law That Promises to Curb Asbestos Use

asbestos After years of Congressional negotiations and gridlock, today President Barack Obama signed into law a bill that will make it much more likely that dangerous chemicals and toxins, including asbestos, get the oversight and investigation that they deserve and that the American public will be protected from carcinogens.

The law, titled the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, will act as a potent update to the Toxic Substances Control Act that was originally signed into law by President Gerald Ford in the mid-1970s. It actually received approval in the House weeks back, but was held up in the Senate by requests for more time to review its language. Today it finally reached the president’s desk for signature. Prior to signing it, Obama said, “Even in the polarized political process here in Washington, things can work. Somewhere on the horizon we can make politics less toxic as well.”

The Lautenberg law was called for by environmental advocates that referred to its predecessor as “one of the worst environmental laws on the books” because it provided so little power to the EPA. The continued use of asbestos in the United States is the primary example of the previous law’s shortcomings. Though most Americans believe that the toxic mineral — which causes a host of deadly diseases including mesothelioma — was banned from use years ago, it was not. Companies continue to use it, and it is present in many products that are imported into the United States. This means that Americans have continued to be exposed to asbestos fibers over the last forty years, despite overwhelming evidence of its dangers. The new law is designed to change the current process.

According to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, “The updated law gives EPA the authority we need to protect American families from the health effects of dangerous chemicals. And at EPA, we’re excited to get to work putting it into action.” The agency’s first steps will be to take action to review ten chemicals that are ranked as the highest priority in terms of the dangers that they pose, and asbestos is at the top of the list.

There is great hope that this law will finally put an end to the use of asbestos in the United States, but we will still be left with the aftermath of all of the asbestos that is still in place in our infrastructure, in our homes and schools, in brake linings and more – and more and more people will continue to be exposed to the carcinogen and run the risk of becoming seriously ill. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease like mesothelioma, contact the attorneys at Danziger & De Llano today. We will listen carefully, ask all the right questions, and provide you with the information you need to get the compensation you deserve from the asbestos companies.

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer is an independent writer, editor and proofreader. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Her dreams of a writing career were diverted by a need to pay her bills. She spent a few years providing copy for a major retailer, then landed a lucrative career in advertising sales. With college bills for all three of her kids paid, she left corporate America for a return to her original goal of writing. She specializes in providing content for websites and finds tremendous enjoyment in the things she learns while doing her research. Her specific areas of interest include health and fitness, medical research, and the law.

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