A new act could potentially speed up the process of banning asbestos. This year, the United States made great strides toward regulating toxic substances like asbestos. However, mesothelioma advocates believe that banning asbestos will still take far too long. A new bill has been created with the goal of speeding up the process.
U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer recently introduced the Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act of 2016. If Senator Boxer’s bill is passed, it could be the nudge that the United States has been needing toward officially banning asbestos.
How the Alan Reinstein Act Could Ban Asbestos Sooner
The goal of the Alan Reinstein bill is to expedite the process of banning asbestos. If the Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act of 2016 passes, it will require the EPA to ban asbestos within 18 months of the bill’s enactment.
The act would require the EPA to prohibit asbestos from being:
- Distributed to the commerce
Earlier this year president Obama signed the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act into law. This new Chemical Safety Act requires the EPA to reevaluate and assess several harmful carcinogens.
The Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act requires:
- Strict deadlines and mandatory evaluations of existing chemicals
- New risk-based safety standards
- Increased knowledge to the public about chemicals
- Consistent funding to the EPA to carry out these actions
In December, the EPA must select the first 10 chemicals that they will examine. Mesothelioma advocates hope that asbestos will be one of the chemicals selected by the EPA. Asbestos exposure causes individuals to develop mesothelioma. However, the new act allows the EPA up to 12 years to make their evaluations.
Urgency for Passing Boxer’s Bill
Although the Chemical Safety Act in an improvement over older laws, it allows the EPA up to 12 years to assess carcinogenic substances. Can the citizens of the United States truly wait that long for the EPA’s conclusion about asbestos?
Every year in the United States there are many documented cases of asbestos-related illnesses. Yearly there are 2,000 to 3,000 cases of mesothelioma. In 12 years as many as 24,000 to 36,000 people could develop mesothelioma.
Even though researchers continue to investigate new methods of treatment, there is currently no cure for mesothelioma. Officially banning the carcinogen that is responsible, could be an effective approach towards preventing future cases of this asbestos-related illness.
Mesothelioma Advocates Support Boxer’s Bill
The most significant supporter of Senator Boxer’s bill is the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO). ADAO is a 501(c)(3) non-profit in the United States that is focused on bringing awareness about asbestos and asbestos-related diseases.
Senator Boxer’s act is named after Linda Reinstein’s husband and former president of ADAO, Alan Reinstein. Alan not only was a big activist for banning asbestos, but he was a mesothelioma victim as well. He was diagnosed in 2003 and succumbed to his battle with pleural mesothelioma in 2006.
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- The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act. US Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved from: https://www.epa.gov/assessing-and-managing-chemicals-under-tsca/frank-r-lautenberg-chemical-safety-21st-century-act. Accessed: 10/12/16.
- Exciting NEWS: U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer Introduces the Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act of 2016. The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO. Retrieved from: http://www.asbestosdiseaseawareness.org/archives/41558. Accessed: 10/11/16.
- Who We Are. The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO. Retrieved from: http://www.asbestosdiseaseawareness.org/about-adao/who-we-are. Accessed: 10/11/16.
- “I’ll Do Anything to Fight Mesothelioma to Have More Time with My Family, Anything” – Alan Reinstein’s Story. The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO. Retrieved from: http://www.asbestosdiseaseawareness.org/archives/7678. Accessed: 10/11/16.
- Press Release: Asbestos Disease Awareness Org. President Urges Congressional Support of Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act of 2016, S. 3427, Introduced September 28 by Senator Barbara Boxer. The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO. Retrieved from: http://www.asbestosdiseaseawareness.org/archives/41512. Accessed: 10/12/16.