ARBAN is Moving to the House Floor

ARBAN is Moving to the House Floor

We are one step closer to being protected from asbestos. The Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act (ARBAN) recently passed the committee vote and its next stop is the House floor. The House Energy and Commerce Committee voted 47 to one in favor of ARBAN, meaning it is going to the House of Representatives. If passed, it will go to the Senate for approval. If approved, the mining, importation, use, and distribution of asbestos will be outlawed for commercial purposes. It will be banned within one year of the passing of the bill, but there are exceptions allowing some asbestos use.

This bill, if approved, will be great for the country even if it is not a complete ban or even an immediate ban. The banning of commercial asbestos use is a great step toward people not worrying about the dangers of asbestos. Chemical companies, specifically chlorine making companies, will still be allowed to import asbestos for five years and use it for 10 years. This lets the chemical companies transition from asbestos to non-asbestos substitutes over time.  Manufacturing Libby asbestos would also be banned, which is currently not regulated by the EPA. Finally, hazards posed to people caused by legacy asbestos in old buildings will be studied by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

This is not the only forward stride made to protect people from asbestos. While not perfect, new rules for the EPA have been created. The Significant New Use Rule makes it so new uses of asbestos have to be reviewed and approved before being sold. The EPA is able to do this under the authority of the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, an update to the Toxic Substances Control Act. Once companies receive approval, they are able to resume or start manufacturing, importing, or processing asbestos. This is problematic because this can potentially allow asbestos back into the country, endangering many lives. With ARBAN moving along, companies could be prevented from using asbestos, which will save many lives.

Since asbestos is such a dangerous material, people need to be protected from it.  It looks like this is finally going to happen with ARBAN.    After many failed attempts to ban asbestos, there is a real chance that ARBAN will protect people from the carcinogen.

If you were exposed to asbestos and now have mesothelioma or lung cancer, you may be entitled to compensation. Call 412-471-3980 or fill out our contact form to speak to one of our staff and learn your options.

“Merkley, Bonamici Announce House Committee Passage of Their Bill to Ban Asbestos” Jeff Merkley United States Senator for Oregon (November 19, 2019). [Link]

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