For decades, the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) has been fighting for a ban on asbestos in the United States. Since 1989 when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) almost issued a nation-wide ban on asbestos, $100,000,000 USD has been spent on 375,000 metric tons of asbestos imports and many have lost their lives to asbestos-related illness.
The ADAO has been gathering support for the Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now (ARBAN) Act. The bill seeks to enact a no-loopholes, no-exemptions ban on asbestos.
The 2019 version of ARBAN would:
- Ban the importation, manufacture, processing, and distribution of all forms of asbestos and asbestos-containing mixtures and articles within 12 months, including products in which asbestos is present as an impurity.
- Establish a new Right-to-Know program to require current importers, processors and distributors to report and disclose to the public how much asbestos is in U.S. commerce, where and how it is used, and who is exposed; Require EPA and the Departments of Labor and Human Services to conduct a comprehensive study of risks presented by the presence of asbestos in the millions of residences, businesses, factories, public buildings and schools, where it was used in building construction decades ago.
- Impose these requirements on the extremely hazardous Libby Amphibole, richterite, winchite, as well as the other six asbestos fibers: chrysotile, actinolite, amosite, anthophyllite, crocidolite, and tremolite.
In September of 2018, the ADAO and five other nonprofits filed a “Right to Know” petition under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) that would require reporting on importation and use of deadly asbestos and asbestos-containing products. The ADAO was joined by the American Public Health Association, Center for Environmental Health, Environmental Health Strategy Center, Environmental Working Group, and Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families. The EPA denied the petition in late December 2018.
In February of 2019, the ADAO and the co-petitioners filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California to overturn the EPA’s 2018 petition denial.
Several months later, after the EPA had denied a similar petition from 14 states and the District of Columbia, Attorneys General Xavier Becerra of California and Maura Healey of Massachusetts announced they and other attorneys general were filing suit against the EPA, calling for TSCA reporting requirements to increase transparency within the asbestos industry.
The EPA, which exists to regulate toxins, continues to shirk their responsibilities. The only hope for a ban on asbestos is through the legislative process. We applaud Linda Reinstein, the President and CEO of the ADAO, and her team on their valiant work toward a total ban on asbestos in the US.