READ Act seeks to revolutionize asbestos reporting

13 Mar 2015 by under News

Capitol 2004 by Ron Reznick digital  100x100 READ Act seeks to revolutionize asbestos reportingDid you know even the slightest exposure to asbestos can have long-term consequences that may become life-threatening? Sen. (D-Ill.) knows, and that’s why he has introduced a new bill that would allow the American public access to up-to-date records on where asbestos has been discovered.

On Tuesday, Sen. Durbin introduced the Reducing Exposure to Asbestos Data (READ) Act, requiring manufacturers, importers and anyone else handling asbestos-laden items to report to the Environmental Protection Agency () each year regarding their products. The information received by the would be compiled into an online database, allowing anyone access to when and where asbestos has been found in the past year.

Causing more than 107,000 deaths worldwide annually, there is no safe level of asbestos exposure. For decades, asbestos has been used in thousands of products such as insulation, fireproofing materials, automotive brakes, textiles, cement, and wallboard materials. However, when asbestos is broken or crushed, its particles can remain in the air, and the inhalation or ingestion of these asbestos particles leads to terrible sicknesses, including one of the most fatal cancers– mesothelioma.

“Every year, far too many Americans and their families suffer the deadly consequences of asbestos exposure,” Durbin said. “The goal of this legislation is simple: increase the transparency and accessibility of data informing the public about where asbestos is known to be present. This information will increase awareness, reduce exposure, and help save lives.”

In 1988, President Reagan signed into action the Asbestos Information Act, which required both manufacturers and processors handling products with asbestos to publish a single report identifying which products tested positive for asbestos. However, Durbin believes the asbestos reports are difficult to find considering the law predates the Internet Age and the reports are currently only published in the Federal Registry.

“Asbestos exposure remains a serious public health threat, with at least 10,000 Americans dying each year from asbestos-related illnesses,” Heather White, executive director of Environmental Working Group and the EWG Action Fund, said. “Senator Durbin’s plan would give concerned citizens valuable information that they can use to avoid coming into contact with this lethal substance.”

The Hill


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