Merkley, Bonamici Announce House Committee Passage of Their Bill to Ban Asbestos

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley and Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici today announced that the full House Energy and Commerce Committee has passed their Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act of 2019 on a nearly unanimous vote. 

Today’s action represents the first-ever congressional committee vote to ban asbestos, and a new milestone in the fight to ban this dangerous substance.

“Every day that goes by without an asbestos ban is another day that American’s health and lives are being put at grave risk,” said Merkley. “While the EPA fiddles, Americans are dying. More than 60 other nations have already recognized asbestos as the deadly substance it is, and acted to protect their citizens by banning asbestos. It’s time for us to catch up to the rest of the developed world, and end this dangerous public health threat once and for all.”

“Asbestos has been killing Americans for too long, leaving families and communities without their loved ones,” said Bonamici. “These deaths are preventable. I am grateful that the House Energy and Commerce Committee took an important step toward banning this deadly substance by passing my bill, the Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act, with strong bipartisan support. I thank Chairman Pallone for his leadership, and I will do all I can to make sure this lifesaving legislation is passed by the full House and signed into law.”

The Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act of 2019 would ban the mining, importation, use, and distribution in commerce of asbestos—a known carcinogen—and any asbestos-containing mixtures in the United States of America. The bill is named after Alan Reinstein, who passed away in 2006 at the age of 66 from mesothelioma, a disease caused by exposure to asbestos. Alan’s wife, Linda, co-founded the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) in 2004.

“ADAO is indebted to Senator Merkley, Congresswoman Bonamici, and Chairman Pallone for all they have done in pushing ARBAN forward,” said Linda Reinstein, co-founder of ADAO. “Their persistence and dedication to saving lives and protecting public health in not just their own states, but for the entire nation, is seen by all. We look forward to Senator Merkley’s continued leadership and unwavering support to get this bill through the Senate and finally ban asbestos for all Americans.”