Friday, October 19, 2007

Senate passes Murray bill to ban asbestos

Senate passes Murray bill to ban asbestos

According to a recent article on a bill to ban asbestos, on Thursday, the Senate voted unanimously to pass [Sen. Patty] Murray's ban on the importation of asbestos, which still is found in more than 3,000 consumer products. If approved by the House and not vetoed by the president, the United States will finally join more than 40 other nations that have banned the cancer-causing material.

With an intensity that bordered on obsession, Murray and her staff became experts on asbestos, where it came from and how it killed.

Corporate opposition to Murray's efforts was enormous.

"When you go after an issue like this, you're fighting a lot of big-time money. Lobbyists for manufacturers, the sand and gravel folks, people with commercial interest and a lot of clout fought this," Murray said. "I wasn't surprised that many other (lawmakers) didn't want to get involved because they thought it was impossible."

Early in the fight, the White House did all it could to stymie discussion, let alone passage of the ban. Murray's efforts were a victim of collateral damage from a three-year Republican effort to pass legislation favored by President Bush that would have prevented people injured by exposure to asbestos from suing the companies involved.

For the past seven months, Murray said, she worked closely with Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia. He convinced Republicans of the importance of the ban, she said.
Murray says she's sure it will become law.

Murray says that two years after her bill is signed into law, there will be no asbestos in hair dryers or brake products or ceiling tiles or 3,000 other imported products.

Among the many demands in the legislation is the banning of the importation, manufacture, processing and distribution of products containing asbestos. It orders the Environmental Protection Agency to ensure asbestos products are off the shelves within two years of the bill's enactment.

It would create a $50 million "Asbestos-Related Disease Research and Treatment Network" of 10 new centers dedicated to finding better treatment, earlier detection and methods of preventing asbestos-related disease.

It says the EPA shall conduct a public education campaign to increase awareness of the dangers posed by products containing or contaminated by asbestos, including in homes and workplaces.
For more information on asbestos and mesothelioma, the deadly cancer caused by the material, visit the website of the law firm of LEVY PHILLIPS & KONIGSBERG, LLP.

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