Posts Tagged ‘H.R. 3339’

Why is EPA proposing relaxed asbestos rules?

6 Aug 2008 by under News, Organizations

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Science Advisory Board (SAB) Asbestos Committee held public meetings July 21 and 22 in , D.C., to discuss changes in the way it measures the risk posed by inhalation exposure to asbestos. Results of this meeting are coming under fire, as environmental groups, labor safety leaders, physicians, scientists and politicians object to the EPA’s proposed revised evaluation standards.

According to recent report in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, there were 20 experts appointed to the SAB’s asbestos panel, charged with evaluating the validity of the EPA’s plan to change how the toxicity of the six types of asbestos regulated by the government differ in danger. Its findings would be submitted to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

According to the PI report, scientific advisors say the EPA used the asbestos panel to submit new studies that contradict longstanding research into the dangers of asbestos. The new studies say chrysolite, in particular, the most common type of asbestos, isn’t dangerous and doesn’t cause mesothelioma.

PI quotes Dr. David Egilman, an occupational medicine specialist, who testified at the public meeting, as saying the new study was financed by mining and other asbestos-related industries, and said the studies have no scientific credibility.

Another vocal spokesperson at the hearing was Sen. Patty Murray, who sponsored S. 742, the Ban Asbestos in America Act of 2007, which passed the Senate on Oct. 4, 2007. Currently, it is the companion bill to H.R. 3339, the Bruce Vento Ban Asbestos and Prevent Mesothelioma Act, sponsored by Rep. Betty McCollum, which currently is in committee in the House of Representatives.

Sen. Murray has long been an advocate for a total asbestos ban, calling for better worker protection. The PI quotes Sen. Murray as telling the committee, “I’d like the political appointees at the EPA to look into the eyes of a mesothelioma patient and say that asbestos isn’t dangerous. It appears that this administration is once again putting politics before public health.” Murray is currently chairwoman of the Senate Employment and Workplace Safety Subcommittee.

The EPA asserts the new system is needed to improve how asbestos-contaminated Superfund sites are evaluated. The organization can move forward with its proposal without approval from the OMB or the SAB, if it so chooses.


Asbestos, mesothelioma bill still in committee

16 Jul 2008 by under Events, News

This is a reminder to those who haven’t yet contacted their representative in about H.R. 3339, the Bruce Vento Ban Asbestos and Prevent Mesothelioma Act. Please take the time to do this right now! It’s very important to let your Representative on Capitol Hill know that you support this measure to finally ban asbestos in the U.S. and provide funding for mesothelioma research.

The bill is currently in committee, with the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Even if your district’s representative is not on this committee, it is important to let him or her know that you support the bill so that they know how to vote. The more voices they hear from their constituency, the better chance they will pay attention when this finally comes to the House floor.

If your representative IS a member of this committee, it is even more important. Many bills “die” in committee, never making it to a vote of the full House or Senate. Please make sure your representative helps get this bill approved in committee and to the floor for its vote.

My representative, Terry Everett (2nd District, Alabama), acknowledged his receipt of my request with a letter, in which he said he will keep my thoughts in mind should the bill make it to the floor, although he is not a member of the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

According to information provided by Everett’s office, H.R. 3339 would require several actions to be taken by the federal government in addressing asbestos and its harmful effects. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would establish a plan to increase awareness of the dangers posed by asbestos-containing materials in homes and workplaces and encourage participation in research and treatment endeavors of asbestos-related disease patients.

The bill also would require the disposal of asbestos-containing materials within two years and the prohibition on the importing, manufacturing, processing or distributing of asbestos-containing materials, except for specific exemptions sought by the Department of Defense and National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

If you are not sure of the representative for your Congressional District, visit the House of Representatives online. You can also find out here if your representative is a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Please take the time to do this today. Your one voice is SO important. Let it join thousands of others to finally make a real difference.


MARF announces Mesothelioma Symposium

29 May 2008 by under Events, Organizations

The Applied Research Foundation (MARF) will hold its International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma 2008 in Washington, D.C., June 26-28. The annual event highlights the latest advances in research and treatment for patients and caregivers, offers psychosocial support to them as well as those who have lost someone to the disease, and provides significant advocacy and volunteer opportunities for those who are intent on eradicating mesothelioma.

According to Rob Grayson, director of marketing for the Meso Foundation, the event actually started as a purely scientific event, geared toward researchers and scientists, with technical presentations. However, at the time, there were no informational or educational events like it, and they found that patients, families and caregivers wanted to attend.

“Initially, these people would come and sit in on these high-level presentations by scientists, with very technical presentations. We saw the interest and our meeting has now evolved into more of a patient meeting, the scientists speak in more layman’s terms, and we’ve added programs to reach out to people who are also interested in the community of support and the activism that takes place,” Grayson said.

The advocacy element is a new piece of the symposium, added last year when the meeting coincided with debate in the Senate on the Ban Asbestos in America Act, S. 742, sponsored by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA).

“The day we lobbied, they took an administrative vote, and it passed in the Senate. So we’re going back to Washington this year,” Grayson said.

Advocacy efforts this year will include a rallying cry to the House of Representatives to move quickly to pass the legislation in the House, which bans asbestos and provides research funding for mesothelioma. Last week, the Foundation issued an action alert in support of The Bruce Vento Ban and Prevent Act of 2007 (H.R. 3339), the companion to the Senate bill. The bill includes $10 million for mesothelioma research.

“Normally we’d hold the Symposium in a different city each year, but it’s almost the same timing as last year, with the bill pending, this time in the House, so we’re back to Washington,” Grayson explained.

Those attending the Symposium can register to participate in the advocacy efforts, and the Meso Foundation will arrange for them to meet personally with their congressional delegate, and will provide a training session to help advocates prepare for the meeting.

In addition to lobbying for passage of the House bill, Symposium advocates will request that the Senate’s Defense Appropriations Subcommittee maintain, for the second year, mesothelioma’s eligibility to compete for medical research funding from the Department of Defense. In 2007, the DoD appropriated $50 million and included mesothelioma as a research priority for its Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program, effective in the 2008 budget. The Meso Foundation is working for continuing and increasing funds for research in the 2009 defense appropriations bill.

“There currently is no ban on asbestos, so companies can use it however they see fit. We’ve pretty much stopped mining here, but asbestos is still used in about 3,000 products that you could go out and buy right now. Even if we banned asbestos tomorrow, it probably won’t change the rate of sickness for the next 50 years, due to the latency period of asbestos. That’s why the funding for research is so important,” Grayson says. “Advocacy and the call for a ban on asbestos raises awareness, and raises money for research, which is what we need to deal with the illness itself,” he said.

In addition to advocacy, the Symposium again will feature an educational program, with sessions covering topics including Peritoneal Mesothelioma, Pleural Meso Surgical Options, Emerging Therapies, Optimizing Patient Care, and Scientific Advances in Meso Research. Other educational programs will provide instruction on outreach topics including volunteerism, fundraising, peer support and advocacy, to help those who want to make a difference learn how to be most effective.

A Gala Dinner will honor those people living with meso, and recognize outstanding volunteers and advocates for their hard work and dedication to raising awareness. The dinner will feature a unique guest speaker – Seventh grader Lexi Miletto, the granddaughter of Joseph Miletto, who died in 2005 of peritoneal mesothelioma.

Scholarships for Symposium registration fees, as well as for transportation and accommodations, are still available for patients, family members and caregivers who would like to attend. Contact the Meso Foundation at www.curemeso.org or call 805-563-8400 for details.

The Mesothelioma Foundation was started in 1999, by attorney Roger Worthington. Unfortunately, Grayson says, there was an initial stigma because of his association, with people suspicious the Foundation was attempting to gather clients for his firm, so he removed himself from the Board of Directors and the Foundation was re-established as a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization. Today, with 8 staff members, the organization raises $2.5 million annually and funds more than $1 million in research projects.

“Currently, most of our funding goes to seed money to help researchers who have good ideas for treatment to validate their work, and take it to the NIH to get additional funding for the next step of the research,” Grayson explained. “We hope very soon that we’ll be able to fund clinical trials.”


Action alert for Ban Asbestos and Prevent Mesothelioma Act

20 May 2008 by under Events, Legal

The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (Meso Foundation) has issued an “action alert” urging its constituents to call on their House Representative this week to support prompt passage of The Bruce Vento Ban Asbestos and Prevent Mesothelioma Act of 2007 (H.R. 3339), sponsored by Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN).

In October 2007, the Senate companion bill, sponsored by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), passed. The House bill toughened the legislation, under the direction of the Environment and Hazardous Material Subcommittee of the House’s Energy and Commerce Committee, eliminating an exception for asbestos present at 1 percent or less by weight, making the ban a matter of federal statute rather than EPA regulation, and adding enforcement provisions.

The Meso Foundation reports the critically needed medical research funding provisions from Sen. Murray’s and Congresswoman McCollum’s legislation have not yet been added to the Committee Print.

In a statement released yesterday in support of including the research funding, the Meso Foundation said, “for the sake of all those already exposed, those now sick, and those who will be exposed in the future to asbestos already in place, we call on the Health Subcommittee to follow Sen. Murray and Congresswoman McCollum in recognizing the necessity of a robust asbestos disease research program, and to adopt the research funding provisions included in their legislation.”

Read the full story about this important legislation at Yahoo! News.

Supporters are urged to contact their Representative in Washington, DC, to urge inclusion of the research funding and swift passage of the complete bill once the funding is in place.

In Alabama, House Representatives are (4th Congressional District), Jo Bonner (1st), Mike Rogers (3rd), Spencer Bachus (6th), Robert E. “Bud” Cramer (5th) and Terry Everett (2nd). If you are not sure which is your congressional district, to locate contact information for your representative or to locate the representative for your state, visit the United States House of Representatives online, and click on your state for a list of your representatives.

Please contact your Representative NOW to let them know you support this legislation and to ask for their support. Please email me if you’d like any help!


Mesothelioma and Asbestos

22 Feb 2008 by under

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