SEATTLE — Sen. Patty Murray joined a woman who is dying from cancer caused by asbestos exposure at a press conference Friday to help push for legislation outlawing the use of asbestos in the U.S.
During the press conference at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, experts said that most people think asbestos is already banned in the U.S., but it’s not.
Murray is leading a push to ban asbestos with the help of victims like Judy Clauson, who attended the press conference with Murray.
Last year, Clauson was diagnosed with a fast-moving cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.
Clauson said her ex-husband worked at a metal foundry in Hoquiam in the ’70s. Every night she’d wash his clothes that were covered with dust containing asbestos.
“I feel cheated. There were no warning labels. I didn’t know what I was breathing in,” said Clauson.
Clauson said she probably won’t live to see Murray’s proposed legislative bill become law.
“I want to see my sons get married and my grandbabies be born. And to be honest, I’m angry. I’m very angry,” said Clauson.
Murray said asbestos continues to be used in products like pipes, tiles, and brake pads.
Murray has pushed a bill through a committee that would ban the use of asbestos in the U.S., back research for related diseases, and educate people about the dangers posed by asbestos products.
Clauson said changes need to be made now.
“How many people have to die before they do something about this?” said Clauson.
According to Murray, Washington state ranks eighth in the country for documented cases of asbestos-related diseases, King County ranks fourth among counties, and the city of Bremerton tops the national list for cities.
Murray said she faces an uphill battle to get her bill through but will keep fighting for people like Clauson.