The work begun six years ago by the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation has begun to result in impressive advances thanks to the actions of Washington’s Democratic U.S. Senator Patty Murray.
On March 1, Sen. Murray held a committee hearing where she outlined the parameters of the “Ban Asbestos in America Act of 2007.” The bill, which she plans to introduce in the very near future, will prohibit the manufacture, processing, and distribution of asbestos-containing products.
During the hearing, five witnesses testified to the need for a total ban of the use of asbestos, stating that no one could accurately assess whether there is any “safe” level of asbestos exposure. Sen. Murray’s staff is committed to passing this legislation as written, with no substantive changes. The bill would instruct EPA to promulgate rules ensuring asbestos-related products are off the shelves within two years of its enactment.
The bill will expand research and treatment of asbestos-related diseases with a $50 million dollar appropriation to the National Institute of Health. The bill also launches a major public education campaign to increase awareness of the dangers caused by asbestos-containing products.
The genesis of this bill began almost six years ago, when Dr. Harvey Pass, Dr. Robert Cameron, and MARF founder Roger Worthington conceived a program that would ban asbestos. Dr. Cameron did much of the work writing the draft language for the original proposed legislation. Over the past 5 years MARF executive director Chris Hahn and his board have worked tirelessly to keep this issue in the spotlight. Sen. Murray has been working on this important piece of legislation that will help all Americans.
From its inception, MARF has been a huge supporter Senator Murray’s work and has assisted in crafting language for the bill that would make provisions for mesothelioma research funding. As a partner in this battle the Foundation joined several key figures on Capitol Hill yesterday to testify before the Senate Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety. MARF’s testimony will help push this legislation forward.