Murray, Isakson, Boxer Celebrate Senate Passage of Asbestos Bill
October 4, 2007
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - Today, the United States Senate unanimously passed Senator Patty Murray's bill to ban asbestos, bringing the legislation closer to enactment than at any point since Murray launched her effort to protect families and workers six years ago. Murray worked closely with Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Environment and Public Works Chairman Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) to reach this historic milestone.
"This is a historic day in the fight to protect Americans. Workers and their families deserve a future free of deadly asbestos exposure, and I'm not stopping until this bill is signed into law," Murray said. "I'm very pleased that Senators from both sides of the aisle came together to unanimously support my bill. I especially want to thank Senator Johnny Isakson for his bipartisan leadership in moving this bill forward. I also want to commend Senator Barbara Boxer who championed this bill from the start and led its quick passage through her Environment and Public Works Committee."
"It was a pleasure to work with Senator Murray on crafting this legislation. This bill is the culmination of months of bipartisan work to find common ground on this important issue, and I extremely pleased the Senate acted so quickly to approve it," Isakson said. "For the few areas where asbestos is still used in the United States, this bill provides a reasonable transition so that Americans can rid themselves of asbestos once and for all."
U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, said: "Because of this bill, America is poised to join the more than 40 nations that have banned asbestos because it is deadly. This bill is long overdue."
"I have been pleased to work closely with Senators Murray and Isakson to move this important bill through the Environment and Public Works Committee, and now through the Senate. This bill will take asbestos off the shelves, and will also ensure we continue to study and treat the health effects asbestos has already caused."
Murray's bill would ban asbestos, invest in research and treatment, and launch a public education campaign. Murray started working to ban asbestos six years ago. This March, she re-introduced her legislation as S. 742, the Ban Asbestos in America Act of 2007 (S. 742). On March 1st, Senator Murray held a hearing in her Employment and Workplace Safety Subcommittee on the bill. Then on June 12th, the bill got a hearing before the Environment and Public Works Committee, at which Senator Murray testified. On June 6, Murray discussed the bill's progress at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, where she was joined by doctors, a patient, environmental experts, and advocates. On July 31st, the bill passed the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee 19-0.
Ban Asbestos in America Act of 2007
Introduced by U.S Senator Patty Murray on March 1, 2007
1. BANS ASBESTOS
Prohibits the importation, manufacture, processing and distribution of products containing asbestos. The ban covers the 6 regulated forms of asbestos and 3 durable fibers. The EPA will issue rules to ensure asbestos products are off the shelves within 2 years of the bill's enactment.
2. Dramatically Expands Research and Treatment
Creates a $50 million "Asbestos-Related Disease Research and Treatment Network"
The network will be composed of 10 new research and treatment centers around the country. Locations will be selected by the director of NIH. The network will focus on finding better treatment, early detection and prevention strategies. Funded at $50 million ($1 million per center per year for 5 years). [Section 417F]
Creates a New National Asbestos-Related Disease Registry
Expands on the existing mesothelioma disease registry to include patients with other asbestos-related diseases. This national clearinghouse for data will help scientists conduct more comprehensive research. [Section 417E(c)]
Directs the Department of Defense to Conduct Additional Research
About one-third of mesothelioma victims were exposed to asbestos while serving in the U.S. Navy. The bill directs the Pentagon to conduct additional research on asbestos disease, early detection and treatment. [Section 417G]
Identifies the Most Promising Areas for New Research
Directs the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to study the current state of knowledge on asbestos disease mechanisms, health effects, and measurement methods. NIOSH will recommend the areas where new research is most needed. [Section 222]
3. Launches a Public Education Campaign TO PROTECT AMERICANS
The EPA Administrator shall conduct a public education campaign to increase awareness of the dangers posed by asbestos-containing products and contaminant-asbestos products, including in homes and workplaces. Patients and front-line health care providers will receive current and comprehensive information about disease awareness and treatment options. The EPA will work with the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Secretary of Labor, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on this public education campaign. [Section 224]