Asbestos Exposure Bill Aims To Protect Workers, Families
Sen Dick Durbin (D-ILL) has introduced a bill, the Reducing Exposure to Asbestos Database (READ) Act designed to require manufactures, importers and those who handle asbestos-containing products to annually report information to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) about their products.
Asbestos Exposure Product Data Would Be Accessible Online
The proposed READ Act would require EPA to make this comprehensive asbestos exposure information available to the public in an accessible easily searchable online database.
The database would also list any publicly accessible location where products with asbestos have been reported in the past year and asbestos exposure may have occurred.
“Every year, far too many Americans and their families suffer the deadly consequences of asbestos exposure,” Durbin said in a release. “The goal of this legislation is simple: increase the transparency and accessibility of data informing the public about where asbestos is known to be present. This information will increase awareness, reduce asbestos exposure, and help save lives.”
Americans Remain At Risk For Diseases Caused By Asbestos Exposure
If passed, the new legislation would represent a giant step forward in protecting American workers and their families from the lethal dangers of asbestos exposure.
Asbestos exposure is the only known cause of mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer that affects cells found in the mesothelium, a protective membrane surrounding the majority of the body’s internal organs. A history of asbestos exposure in the workplace is reported in approximately 70 to 80 percent of all mesothelioma cases. Families of people who work with asbestos can develop mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos dust brought into the home on the worker’s clothes.
Approximately 2,500 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed in the United States each year. The average survival time of those with malignant forms of the disease is 10 to 14 months. In addition to mesothelioma, the inhalation of asbestos fibers can cause lung cancer and asbestosis.
Although the dangers of asbestos exposure have been known since the 1930s, the US has been slow to act on eliminating all asbestos use in commercial products.
New Bill Would Update 1988 Asbestos Exposure Law
The new proposed legislation would update and expand the Asbestos Information Act, signed into law by President Reagan in 1988. It currently requires manufacturers and processors of asbestos-containing materials to provide the EPA with a one-time report on their products. Because the law predates the Internet, the information on potential asbestos exposure is published only in the Federal Register and not easily accessible to the public. By requiring the information to be posted online, Durbin’s bill would give Americans a new comprehensive way to monitor potential asbestos exposure in products they may work with and purchase for use.