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Posted by Andrea Marino Landry on Mar 11, 2015 1:31:02 PM

U.S. Senators Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, and Edward J. Markey, D-Massachusetts, have introduced legislation that would protect Americans from asbestos exposure making information about the identities and known locations of asbestos-containing products available to the public. Unlike other hazardous products, asbestos has not been completely banned in the United States. The Reducing Exposure to Asbestos Database (READ) Act will require the creation of a public online database where manufacturers, importers, and those who otherwise handle asbestos would be required to annually report information about asbestos to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA would then make this information accessible to the public in an easily searchable format.

Importantly, that database would also be required to include any publicly-accessible location in which the products were known to be present in the past year. This will allow people to avoid coming into contact with asbestos, and warn them about its presence in their communities.

The READ Act updates the Asbestos Information Act signed by President Ronald Reagan in 1988. That law contained a one-time only asbestos reporting requirement. That information was then published in the Federal Register. The READ Act brings the Asbestos Information Act into the internet age by requiring public, annual posting of this vital information.

Because it has not been completely banned here, asbestos is still imported into the United States and still sold and used in products that reach the public. According to U.S. Geological Survey estimates, American asbestos consumption was 950 tons (1,900,000 pounds) in the year 2013.

“Every year, far too many Americans and their families suffer the deadly consequences of asbestos exposure,” Senator Durbin said in a statement released by his office. “The goal of this legislation is simple: increase the transparency and accessibility of data informing the public about where asbestos is known to be present. This information will increase awareness, reduce exposure, and help save lives.”

We salute Senators Durbin and Markey for their efforts to protect Americans from exposure to carcinogenic asbestos. As attorneys representing victims of mesothelioma and asbestos-related disease since 1978, we are all too aware of the tragic consequences of asbestos exposure. As always, if you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or any other asbestos-related disease, Thornton Law Firm’s asbestos attorneys are here to help. Call our toll free number 888-632-0108 for a free, no-obligation consultation. Or tell us your story here using our website.  Asbestos claims, like all legal claims, have short time limits. Do not delay seeking legal advice.