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Senate Attempts to Ban Mesothelioma-Causing Asbestos for the Sixth Time

Many Americans mistakenly believe that the use of asbestos has been banned in the United States since the 1970s, ever since the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency revealed the dangers of the mineral that causes asbestosis, mesothelioma and other serious diseases. Unfortunately, this is not true: every time that the Congress has tried to ban the carcinogen, powerful forces working on behalf of the chemical industry have backed their efforts. Despite the frustration, a group of several Senators has joined with Oregon Democrat Jeff Merkley to co-sponsor a bill, the Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act of 2017, which would ban the toxic material’s use.

It has been decades since science has proven that asbestos causes mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of cancer, as well as asbestosis and other deadly and life-altering diseases. The material is one of the ten being reviewed by the Environmental Protection Agency under the 2016 Toxic Substances Control Act, and health advocates had hoped that would lead to its ban. But the Trump administration under EPA Director Scott Pruitt has indicated that it will soften the anticipated approach to asbestos, so the senators have decided to take a different approach that would bypass the EPA and eliminate asbestos use without the agency’s assistance. The bill would:

  • Place restrictions on the use of asbestos within 18 months, with the intention of cutting human and environmental exposure to the material.
  • Force the Environmental Protection Agency to provide details regarding all known uses of asbestos in the country, assessing the impact of each example.
  • Stop commercial asbestos from being manufactured, processed, used or distributed outside of the uses currently included in the EPA’s exception rule.

The action has support of health advocates throughout the country, who are concerned about the continued risk of mesothelioma to the American public. Speaking to the Montana Standard, a newspaper published in the state that has been among the most damaged by mesothelioma, thoracic surgeon Dr. Raja Flores of the Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York said, “Don’t get me started. Asbestos is a killer. The evidence is clear. This bill is a life-saving bill. It can save more lives than I can with my knife. Any politician who doesn’t get that is protecting some group that would lose money if asbestos were banned.”

If you or someone you love has been affected by asbestos and you’d like to learn ore about the resources available to mesothelioma victims, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net. You can reach us at  1-800-692-8608.

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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