Asbestos Exposure Scares and Violations Common Across U.S.

For Immediate Release: May 7, 2015

Contact: Alex Formuzis: 202.667.6982 or alex@ewg.org

Washington, D.C. – Almost every week, somewhere in the U.S., another asbestos problem makes the news – contamination of schools, hospitals, court houses and other public buildings, faulty abatement and removal, workers illegally exposed to deadly airborne fibers, and more.

Although many people believe asbestos was banned decades ago, the steady stream of reports show that it’s still legal – and still lethal. To show how real the threat remains, EWG Action Fund has produced an interactive map of notable asbestos incidents. The map highlights more than three dozen examples of potential asbestos exposure or other problems in 26 states in just the past six months.

“If your community hasn’t faced an asbestos crisis recently, you might think it’s no longer a problem,” said Alex Formuzis, vice president for strategic campaigns at EWG Action Fund. “But you’d be wrong, and this map is a way to show at and glance how present asbestos is throughout the country and the risk it poses to public health.”

The map shows links to news articles detailing the incidents – where asbestos was discovered, fines against companies and individuals and legal decisions.

In several cases, asbestos abatement contractors failed to observe safety guidelines, exposing workers. A chilling account of “take-home” asbestos exposure tells the story of a refinery worker whose clothes picked up asbestos fibers. They contaminated his home and ultimately killed him and his wife.

EWG Action Fund plans to update the map regularly updated. Users of the map can submit articles they think should be highlighted at: alex@ewg.org

Congress is considering legislation that would create an online database maintained by the federal Environmental Protection Agency that would list products that contain asbestos and where Americans might encounter them. You can learn more about the Reducing Exposure to Asbestos Database Act, or READ Act here.

Another bill being considered by Congress is the Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act, or FACT Act. This proposal was written at the behest of the asbestos industry, that if passed, would run out the clock on dying asbestos victims seeking compensation.

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  EWG Action Fund is a 501(c)(4) organization that is a separate sister organization of the Environmental Working Group. The mission of EWG Action Fund is to protect health and the environment by educating the public and lobbying on a wide range of environmental issues. Donations to EWG Action Fund are not tax-deductible.

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