Senators Introduce Bill to Ban Asbestos and Make Communities Safer
Americans are led to believe that the chemicals they are exposed to on a daily basis are safe. However, many, like asbestos, are not. Asbestos is a deadly chemical that has claimed countless lives. In fact, it is the main cause of occupational death, yet its use is still legal in the United States. A new bill created by two state senators is looking to change that. Massachusetts Senator Edward Markey and California Senator Barbara
Boxer are looking to keep children and communities safe from toxic chemicals with the Alan Reinstein and Trevor Schaefer Toxic Chemical Protection Act. The Boxer-Markey bill is in honor of Alan Reinstein and Trevor Schaefer. Reinstein died from mesothelioma in 2006 after he was exposed to asbestos. In 2004, his wife created the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization. Schaefer contracted brain cancer from chemical exposure when he was 13 years old and has survived the disease for 12 years.
The bill updates an outdated law from nearly 40 years ago. The 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act did little to promote chemical safety. It failed to review current chemicals on the market and did not thoroughly test any new chemicals before they went on the market, allowing consumers to be exposed to tens of thousands of potentially unsafe chemicals.
The bill aims for stricter regulations regarding chemical safety and gives each state the right to protect residents from chemical exposure. It also ensures that chemical spills are quickly addressed to minimize exposure. One goal is to force the Environmental Protection Agency to ban asbestos. Any products containing asbestos and other deadly chemicals would be required to go through a safety review system, which would be funded in part by chemical companies. The review would provide results quickly. In contrast, a similar bill in the works would give the EPA seven years to complete a safety review.
Humans have the right to live in a safe environment. Public health should be the utmost priority in a community. Nobody should be forced to endure prolonged exposure to unsafe toxins and chemicals. This can cause serious diseases, such as heart and lung diseases, developmental delays and cancer, and even lead to death. Children and others with weak or immature immune systems are the most susceptible and it’s important to have legislation like this in place to protect them.