WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), the largest independent non-profit organization in the U.S. which combines education, advocacy, and community to help ensure justice for asbestos victims, is voicing grave concerns with House Energy and Commerce Environment and the Economy Subcommittee Chairman John Shimkus’ (R-IL) “Chemicals in Commerce Act” Discussion Draft.
Since 2010, ADAO has been actively engaged in stakeholder meetings, testifying at Congressional hearings, and writing letters to ensure Congress passes meaningful TSCA reform to protect the public from dangerous chemicals, such as asbestos. At the present time, the only two ways to eliminate environmental and occupational asbestos-caused diseases are prevention and a cure.
While ADAO is encouraged by efforts to overhaul the outdated and ineffective Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) from 1976, neither the Chemical Safety Improvement Act of 2013 (S. 1009) nor “Chemicals in Commerce Act” Discussion Draft represents progress in chemical risk management and prohibition.
Linda Reinstein, mesothelioma widow and Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization Co-founder issued the following statement:
“Americans have lost confidence in the chemical industries’ ability to protect us from toxins. Asbestos has caused one of the largest man-made disasters in history. More than 30 Americans die each day from preventable asbestos-caused disease, yet Congress allows for imports to continue. ADAO has seen the robust chemical industry propaganda to lobby Congress and fool Americans. Enough is enough. TSCA reform must empower and enable the EPA to ban asbestos and other known toxins. Without responsibility, accountability, and transparency, no one is safe.”
The “Chemicals in Commerce Act” Discussion Draft has the following flaws:
- Next to Impossible to Phase Out or Ban Harmful Chemicals. The “Chemicals in Commerce Act” Discussion Draft would make it impossible for EPA (the Environmental Protection Agency) to ban or phase out the worst of the worst toxic chemicals on the market.
- Grossly Inadequate Safety Standard. The “Chemicals in Commerce Act” Discussion Draft’s safety standard would place a heavy burden on EPA to find that a chemical such as asbestos is unsafe, rather than shifting the burden to chemical companies to show chemicals are safe.
- Lack of Deadlines to Ensure Safety. The “Chemicals in Commerce Act” Discussion Draft is virtually devoid of any deadlines that would require EPA to act quickly to assess and restrict the use of harmful chemicals such as asbestos.
- Unworkable Standard of Court Review. The “Chemicals in Commerce Act” Discussion Draft would retain the unworkable standard of court review found in TSCA, which ultimately prevented EPA from being able to ban asbestos in 1989.
- Freeze on State Efforts to Protect People from Chemicals. The “Chemicals in Commerce Act” Discussion Draft contains far-reaching language that would paralyze states from being able to enforce existing laws or pass new ones, to increase protections against harmful chemicals such as asbestos.
The problems discussed above represent just a handful of the ways that the “Chemicals in Commerce Act” Discussion Draft would fail to deliver meaningful reform. Congress must stand up to the chemical industry on behalf of asbestos victims and pass a bill that would do more to protect the American people from exposure to harmful chemicals.
Despite its known dangers, there is still no global ban on asbestos, and it continues to claim lives. Exposure to asbestos, a human carcinogen, can cause mesothelioma, lung, gastrointestinal, laryngeal, and ovarian cancers; as well as non-malignant lung and pleural disorders. The World Health Organization estimates that 107,000 workers around the world will die every year of an asbestos-related disease, equaling 300 deaths per day.
About the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization
The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) was founded by asbestos victims and their families in 2004. ADAO is the largest non-profit in the U.S. dedicated to providing asbestos victims and concerned citizens with a united voice through our education, advocacy, and community initiatives. ADAO seeks to raise public awareness about the dangers of asbestos exposure, advocate for an asbestos ban, and protect asbestos victims’ civil rights. For more information, visit www.asbestosdiseaseawareness.org.