Calls for U.S. Asbestos Ban
When the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allocated $200,000 to convene a panel to consider the annual use of 30 million pounds of asbestos in the U.S, few could have anticipated their findings. In light of years of inaction and neglect, the most likely outcome would have involved some tinkering around the edges. Imagine the surprise when this EPA-funded panel issued recommendations for Congress to ban the import, production and distribution of asbestos-containing products! The publication of their 71 page report was warmly welcomed on May 2, 2003 by many campaigners including Senator Patty Murray who, in June 2003, introduced a Congressional bill to ban asbestos in the U.S.
Dr. Barry Castleman, a leading U.S. asbestos expert and an international figure in the global campaign to ban asbestos, is clearly delighted with the recommendations: "The ban in the United States is long overdue," he said. "The political pressure from some industries to fight an asbestos ban has been enormous, but this report is the clearest signal possible that Senator Murray's legislation must be passed and implemented as soon as possible."
A comprehensive article by Andrew Schneider on these developments can be found on the St. Louis Post-Dispatch website
May 6, 2003