New Jersey Congressman Frank Pallone is calling for a full ban on cancer-causing asbestos, a mineral once widely used in construction, shipbuilding and friction materials, a move intended to thwart a proposed new rule that allows the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to allow new uses of asbestos on a case-by-case basis.
In his remarks, Mr. Pallone discussed legislation, The Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act, (ARBAN) (S. 717) and (H.R. 1603), which he and other Congressional representatives introduced in March.
“Anything less than a full ban is unacceptable,” Pallone said during a press conference this week in Highland Park.
Pallone, who serves as chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, was joined by local labor leaders and Dr. H. Richard Alexander, the chief surgical officer at Rutgers Cancer Institute. “It has been known for many years that the main risk factor for developing mesothelioma, a rare and complex cancer, is exposure to asbestos,” Dr. Alexander said.
Mesothelioma is deadly form of cancer that develops in the lining of the lungs, abdomen or chest. It can take up to 50 years for mesothelioma to develop. Once diagnosed, it usually proves deadly within a year or two.
More than 60 countries have banned the mining, sale, importation, and use of asbestos, including Canada. The United States has never banned asbestos, only limited its use. But the EPA’s proposed rule, under the Trump administration, will loosen those restrictions.
“It has been forty years since the EPA began to ban asbestos,” Pallone said. “Today, asbestos exposure still claims the lives of about 40,000 Americans every year. Enough is enough – it’s time to fully ban this toxic and deadly substance and I believe the only way that will be possible is by passing this legislation.”
Sharon Zinns, a lawyer in the firm’s Atlanta office, has extensive experience investigating cases of mesothelioma from asbestos exposure. She would be happy to talk with you about any claim involving commercial, industrial, occupational or other exposure to asbestos resulting in lung cancer or mesothelioma.