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Sen. Dick Durbin Asks EPA to Protect Americans from Asbestos

According to a recent article from E News Park Forest, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, (D-Ill.,) has called on the federal Environmental Protection Agency to give top priority on the list of chemicals it will be reviewing under the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act.  This act is a reform to the Chemical Substances Control Act of 1976.

senateThe act was signed by President Barack Obama in June of this year. The law gives the EPA authority to regulate chemicals based upon how they affect vulnerable groups of people like small children, older Americans, pregnant women, and industrial workers who are often required to be around potentially hazardous chemicals on a frequent basis.

As part of this new law, the EPA is going to be responsible for creating what is being called a top 10 list of dangerous chemicals that will be given priority for review and enforcement efforts.  Durbin, along with others, is asking that the EPA include deadly asbestos fibers in their list for increased enforcement efforts.

Durbin sent an open letter to the EPA asking that they look at asbestos and other flame retardant products that are posing a serious threat to the American public.  As our Boston asbestos exposure attorneys have seen in far too many cases, when the fibers become inhaled by a victim, or otherwise ingested, there is no good way for a doctor do determine if the deadly fibers are embedded in a layer of tissue known as the mesothelium.  This is where the name mesothelioma comes from.

Once these fibers are embedded in the mesothelium, they can metastasize into the deadly form of cancer.  One thing to keep in mind is that the process typically takes between 20 and 50 years for patients to become sick.  This was one of the reasons asbestos companies were allowed to get away with what was essentially poisoning so many people for so long.  They knew these workers and their families were getting sick, but kept that information from the workers so they could continue to make money off the deadly substance.

Durbin has long been a champion for those who were harmed by asbestos and other toxic substances.  He has chaired various senate committees and subcommittees and held hearings about the dangers of some of these toxic chemicals, and, in 2015, he introduced a bill that led to the Reducing Exposure to Asbestos Database (READ) Act.  This database is to be an up-to-date and easily searchable database maintained by the EPA.  It will contain information about the known locations of asbestos products.

One of the things about which many people may not be aware is that while asbestos was largely banned in the 1970s, that ban was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court a short time later.  The public being aware and other regulations has made it largely illegal to use, but it still used and important in certain small quantities. However, while those quantities may be small, they are enough to cause mesothelioma, and that is part of the reason for this legislation.

If you or a loved one is diagnosed with mesothelioma in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at 1-888-367-2900.

Additional Resources:

Senator Durbin Calls On EPA To Protect American Families From Toxic Asbestos And Flame Retardants, September 25, 2016, E News Park Press

More Blog Entries:

Rondon v. Hennessy Industries, Inc. – “Inevitable Use” Standard in Asbestos Litigation, July 2, 2016, Boston Mesothelioma Attorney Blog