Simmons Mesothelioma Foundation

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The Fight To Ban Asbestos

In the United States, the fight to ban asbestos began in 1971 when the EPA classified asbestos as a “hazardous air pollutant.” The next year, the newly formed Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) created the first on-the-job standard for asbestos exposure. By 1976, asbestos had been listed as a human carcinogen by the International Agency for Occupational Safety and Health, which has since called it a “dangerous carcinogen." In 2006, the World Health Organization and the International Labor Organization agreed that:

  • all forms of asbestos are human carcinogens
  • there are no “safe” exposure levels
  • asbestos should be eliminated in order to halt widespread asbestos-related disease

Asbestos Federal Register notices

In 1989, the EPA ultimately banned most asbestos-containing products, at least until 1991, when the regulation was overturned by New Orleans’ Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Subsequently, these asbestos-containing products remain banned:

  • flooring felt
  • rollboard
  • corrugated, commercial, or specialty paper
  • "new uses" of asbestos, i.e. its use in products that have not historically contained it

Senate and House Acts and Resolutions

2007
The Senate passed the “Ban Asbestos in America Act,” which does not ban all asbestos-containing products.  It exempts materials containing less than one-percent asbestos. The bill did not go to the House or become law.2

2007
U.S. Representative Betty McCollum introduced the “Bruce Vento Ban Asbestos and Prevent Mesothelioma Act of 2007.”3 It was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Subcommittee on Environment and Hazardous Materials as well as the Subcommittee on Health. The bill did not go to House or Senate votes.

2008
U.S. Representative Raymond Green introduced H.R. 6903, the “Bruce Vento Ban Asbestos and Prevent Mesothelioma Act of 2008.”4 It was referred to the House Subcommittee on Environment and Hazardous Materials. It banned asbestos-containing products (ACP). The bill did not go to House or Senate votes.

2009
Senate Resolution 57 designated the first week of April 2009 as “National Asbestos Awareness Week,” just as previous years had designated the first week of April.


See related asbestos topics:


References:

S. 742--110th Congress: Ban Asbestos in America Act of 2007. (2007). In GovTrack.us (database of federal legislation). Retrieved March 1, 2010, from http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s110-742
  H.R. 3339--110th Congress: Bruce Vento Ban Asbestos and Prevent Mesothelioma Act of 2007. (2007). In GovTrack.us (database of federal legislation).  Retrieved March 1, 2010, from http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h110-3339
  H.R. 6903--110th Congress: Bruce Vento Ban Asbestos and Prevent Mesothelioma Act of 2008. (2008). In GovTrack.us (database of federal legislation). Retrieved March 1, 2010, from http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h110-6903