Washington, D.C. — Legislation introduced today by Reps. Suzan Delbene (D-Wash.) and Gene Green (D-Tx.) would set up a federal online database of information about products that contain asbestos and where those items are likely to be found in communities across the country.
Similar to legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate earlier this year by Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), the Reducing Exposure to Asbestos Database (READ) Actwould amend the Asbestos Information Act signed into law in 1988 by then-President Ronald Reagan. If the READ Act becomes law, all those who manufacture, import or handle the deadly substance would be required “to annually report information to the EPA about their products and any publicly-accessible location in which the products have been known to be present in the past year,” according the news release issued by Rep. Delbene’s office.
The Delbene-Green proposal is a much-needed amendment to the Asbestos Information Act. That law required companies that used asbestos to submit similar information for publication in the Federal Register, but they had to report only once. Moreover, most Americans cannot search the relatively obscure government journal with ease. The database envisioned by Reps. Delbene, Green and Sen. Durbin would give all Americans easy access to this vital information.
“While asbestos is no longer mined in the U.S., it still is used in products, and remains in millions of homes, schools and office buildings, continuing to put the public at risk,” said Alex Formuzis, Vice President for strategic campaigns at Environmental Working Group Action Fund and director of the group’s Asbestos Nation campaign. “The bill put forth by Reps. DelBene and Green would give concerned citizens valuable information that they can use to avoid coming into contact with this lethal, and still legal, substance.”
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