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Congress makes progress removing asbestos from the environment

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The financial burden borne by the taxpayer due to asbestos containing materials (ACM) that have been installed throughout the 20th century in American factories, power generating plants, schools, homes and military ships and bases, constitute one of the largest environmental and health challenges facing our country today and in the future.

It is estimated that 100,000 individuals die each year from the diseases, asbestosis and mesothelioma, caused by exposure to asbestos, known as the deadliest work place tragedy in American history. Our courts have been flooded with asbestos related litigation that further strains our already overburdened judicial system. The medical and legal expenses resulting from these diseases cost American industry and government millions of dollars annually and have resulted in a record number of corporate bankruptcies.

Up until now, the taxpayer has had no relief. On October 4, 2007, the Senate, working to mitigate the asbestos dilemma, unanimously passed the “Ban Asbestos in America Act,” which prohibits the importing, manufacturing, processing and distributing of asbestos and products containing asbestos. The bill was authored by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and backed by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and the committee on Environment and Public works.

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