Senate Approves Asbestos Ban

After years of setbacks lawmakers have finally approved a ban on domestic production and distribution of asbestos.

On October 4, years after it was first proposed, the Ban Asbestos in America Act of 2007 was unanimously approved by the U.S. Senate.

Sen. Patty Murray D-Wash., had first proposed the ban in 2001 but was often sidetracked by Republican lawmakers who refused to consider the bill while it was in committee. After Democrats regained control of the Senate, Murray’s bill found new hope.

After negotiating with Senate Republicans over industrial use provisions, the bill finally passed through committee and will now head to President Bush who is expected to sign the measure into law.

A quick summary of the bill:

  • Requires the National Institutes of Health to create an asbestos disease research program
  • Encourages public education about asbestos and possible health side-effects
  • Requires the disposal of all commercially available asbestos products
  • Requires the phasing out of asbestos for industrial use

The United States still consumes around 2,000 tons of asbestos each year which is a considerable drop from the nearly one million tons annually during the mid-1970s.

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