A bill to amend the Toxic Substances Control Act to reduce
the health risks posed by asbestos-containing products.
Sponsor: Sen Murray, Patty [WA] (introduced 5/22/2003)
Latest Major Action: 5/22/2003 Referred to Senate committee.
Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on Environment and Public
2. Major Actions
3. All Actions
6. Text of Legislation
SUMMARY AS OF:
Ban Asbestos in America Act of 2003 - Amends the Toxic Substances Control
Act to require the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency
to contract with the National Academy of Sciences to: (1) study and describe
the current state of science concerning the human health effects of exposure
to asbestos and other durable fibers; and (2) make recommendations for
uniform systems for asbestos exposure standards and protocols for detecting
and measuring asbestos.
Directs the Administrator to establish an Asbestos Policies Panel to
study asbestos and other durable fibers.
Directs the Administrator to study the status of the manufacture, processing,
distribution, ownership, importation, and disposal of asbestos-containing
products and contaminant-asbestos products.
Requires the Administrator to promulgate regulations within one year
which prohibit the manufacturing, processing, or distributing of asbestos-containing
products, subject to limited exemption upon petition.
Requires the disposal of asbestos-containing products within three years,
except as specified.
Requires the Administrator to establish a public awareness program concerning
the dangers posed by these products and vermiculite insulation.
Amends the Public Health Service Act to direct the Secretary of Health
and Human Services to expand research programs on diseases caused by asbestos
exposure, particularly mesothelioma, asbestosis, and pleural injuries.
Establishes and funds mesothelioma disease research and treatment centers.
MAJOR ACTIONS: (color indicates Senate actions)
ALL ACTIONS: (color indicates Senate actions)
- Introductory remarks on measure.
- Read twice and referred to the Committee on Environment and Public
Works. (text of measure as introduced
COSPONSORS(14), ALPHABETICAL [followed by Cosponsors
Sen Baucus, Max [MT] - 5/22/2003
Sen Boxer, Barbara [CA] - 5/22/2003
Sen Cantwell, Maria [WA] - 5/22/2003
Sen Daschle, Thomas A. [SD] - 3/11/2004
Sen Dayton, Mark [MN] - 5/22/2003
Sen Durbin, Richard [IL] - 3/29/2004
Sen Feingold, Russell D. [WI] - 6/18/2003
Sen Feinstein, Dianne [CA] - 6/18/2003
Sen Hollings, Ernest F. [SC] - 4/19/2004
Sen Jeffords, James M. [VT] - 5/22/2003
Sen Lautenberg, Frank R. [NJ] - 6/26/2003
Sen Leahy, Patrick J. [VT] - 5/22/2003
Sen Reid, Harry [NV] - 3/29/2004
Sen Stabenow, Debbie [MI] - 4/26/2004
|Senate Environment and Public Works
||Referral, In Committee
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the `Ban Asbestos in America Act of 2003'.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
(1) the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency has classified
asbestos as a category A human carcinogen, the highest cancer hazard
classification for a substance;
(2) there is no known safe level of exposure to asbestos;
(3)(A) in hearings before Congress in the early 1970s, the example of
asbestos was used to justify the need for comprehensive legislation
on toxic substances; and
(B) in 1976, Congress passed the Toxic Substances Control Act (15 U.S.C.
2601 et seq.);
(4) in 1989, the Administrator promulgated final regulations under title
II of the Toxic Substances Control Act (15 U.S.C. 2641 et seq.) to phase
out asbestos in consumer products by 1997;
(5) in 1991, the United States Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit
overturned portions of the regulations, and the Government did not appeal
the decision to the Supreme Court;
(6) as a result, while new applications for asbestos were banned, asbestos
is still being used in some consumer and industrial products in the
(7) the United States Geological Survey has determined that in 2000,
companies in the United States consumed 15,000 metric tons of chrysotile
asbestos, of which approximately 62 percent was consumed in roofing
products, 22 percent in gaskets, 12 percent in friction products, and
4 percent in other products;
(8) available evidence suggests that--
(A) imports of some types of asbestos-containing products may be increasing;
(B) some of those products are imported from foreign countries in
which asbestos is poorly regulated;
(9) many people in the United States incorrectly believe that--
(A) asbestos has been banned in the United States; and
(B) there is no risk of exposure to asbestos through the use of new
(10) the Department of Commerce estimates that in 2000, the United States
imported 51,483 metric tons of asbestos-cement products;
(11) banning asbestos from being used in or imported into the United
States will provide certainty to manufacturers, builders, environmental
remediation firms, workers, and consumers that after a specific date,
asbestos will not be added to new construction and manufacturing materials
used in this country;
(12) asbestos has been banned in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium,
Chile, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany,
Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway,
Poland, Saudi Arabia, the Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland,
and the United Kingdom;
(13) asbestos will be banned throughout the European Union in 2005;
(14) in 2000, the World Trade Organization upheld the right of France
to ban asbestos, with the United States Trade Representative filing
a brief in support of the right of France to ban asbestos;
(15) the 1999 brief by the United States Trade Representative stated,
`In the view of the United States, chrysotile asbestos is a toxic material
that presents a serious risk to human health.';
(16) people in the United States have been exposed to harmful levels
of asbestos as a contaminant of other minerals;
(17) in the town of Libby, Montana, workers and residents have been
exposed to dangerous levels of asbestos for generations because of mining
operations at the W.R. Grace vermiculite mine located in that town;
(18) the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry found that
over a 20-year period, `mortality in Libby resulting from asbestosis
was approximately 40 to 80 times higher than expected. Mesothelioma
mortality was also elevated.';
(19)(A) in response to this crisis, in January 2002, the Governor of
Montana requested that the Administrator of the Environmental Protection
Agency designate Libby as a Superfund site; and
(B) on October 23, 2002, the Administrator placed Libby on the National
(20)(A) vermiculite from Libby was shipped for processing to 42 States;
(B) Federal agencies are investigating potential harmful exposures to
asbestos-contaminated vermiculite at sites throughout the United States;
(21) the Administrator has identified 14 sites that have dangerous levels
of asbestos-tainted vermiculite and require cleanup efforts; and
(22) although it is impracticable to eliminate exposure to asbestos
entirely because asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral in the environment
and occurs in several deposits throughout the United
States, Congress needs to do more to protect the public from exposure
to asbestos and Congress has the power to prohibit the continued, intentional
use of asbestos in consumer products.
SEC. 3. ASBESTOS-CONTAINING PRODUCTS.
(a) IN GENERAL- Title II of the Toxic Substances Control Act (15 U.S.C.
2641 et seq.) is amended--
(1) by inserting before section 201 (15 U.S.C. 2641) the following:
`Subtitle A--General Provisions';
(2) by adding at the end the following:
`Subtitle B--Asbestos-Containing Products
`SEC. 221. DEFINITIONS.
`(1) ASBESTOS-CONTAINING PRODUCT- The term `asbestos-containing product'
means any product (including any part) to which asbestos is deliberately
or knowingly added or in which asbestos is deliberately or knowingly
used in any concentration.
`(2) CONTAMINANT-ASBESTOS PRODUCT- The term `contaminant-asbestos product'
means any product that contains asbestos as a contaminant of any mineral
or other substance, in any concentration.
`(3) DISTRIBUTE IN COMMERCE-
`(A) IN GENERAL- The term `distribute in commerce' has the meaning
given the term in section 3.
`(B) EXCLUSIONS- The term `distribute in commerce' does not include--
`(i) an action taken with respect to an asbestos-containing product
in connection with the end use of the asbestos-containing product
by a person that is an end user; or
`(ii) distribution of an asbestos-containing product by a person
solely for the purpose of disposal of the asbestos-containing product
in compliance with applicable Federal, State, and local requirements.
`(A) IN GENERAL- The term `durable fiber' means a silicate fiber that--
`(i) occurs naturally in the environment; and
`(ii) is similar to asbestos in--
`(I) resistance to dissolution;
`(III) other physical, chemical, or biological processes expected
from contact with lung cells and other cells and fluids in the
`(B) INCLUSIONS- The term `durable fiber' includes--
`(iv) nonasbestiform varieties of crocidolite, amosite, anthophyllite,
tremolite, and actinolite.
`(5) FIBER- The term `fiber' means an acicular single crystal or similarly
elongated polycrystalline aggregate particle with a length to width
ratio of 3 to 1 or greater.
`(6) PERSON- The term `person' means--
`(B) any corporation, company, association, firm, partnership, joint
venture, sole proprietorship, or other for-profit or nonprofit business
entity (including any manufacturer, importer, distributor, or processor);
`(C) any Federal, State, or local department, agency, or instrumentality;
`(D) any interstate body.
`SEC. 222. NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES STUDY.
`The Administrator shall enter into a contract with the National Academy
of Sciences to study and, not later than 18 months after the date of enactment
of this subtitle, provide the Administrator, and other Federal agencies,
`(1) a description of the current state of the science relating to the
human health effects of exposure to asbestos and other durable fibers;
`(2) recommendations for the establishment of--
`(A) a uniform system for the establishment of asbestos exposure standards
for workers, school children, and other populations; and
`(B) a uniform system for the establishment of protocols for detecting
and measuring asbestos.
`SEC. 223. ASBESTOS POLICIES PANEL.
`(1) IN GENERAL- The Administrator shall establish an Asbestos Policies
Panel (referred to in this section as the `panel') to study asbestos
and other durable fibers.
`(2) MEMBERSHIP- The panel shall be comprised of representatives of--
`(A) the Secretary of Labor;
`(B) the Secretary of Health and Human Services; and
`(C) the Chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission;
`(D) nongovernmental environmental, public health, and consumer organizations;
`(G) public health officials;
`(H) labor organizations; and
`(b) DUTIES- The panel shall--
`(1) provide independent advice and counsel to the Administrator and
other Federal agencies on policy issues associated with the use and
management of asbestos and other durable fibers; and
`(2) study and, not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of
this subtitle, provide the Administrator, other Federal agencies, and
Congress recommendations concerning--
`(A) implementation of subtitle A;
`(B) grant programs under subtitle A;
`(C) revisions to the national emissions standards for hazardous air
pollutants promulgated under the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7401 et
`(D) legislative and regulatory options for improving consumer and
worker protections against harmful health effects of exposure to asbestos
and durable fibers;
`(E) whether the definition of asbestos-containing material, meaning
any material that contains more than 1 percent asbestos by weight,
should be modified throughout the Code of Federal Regulations;
`(F) the feasibility of establishing a durable fibers testing program;
`(G) options to improve protections against exposure to asbestos from
asbestos-containing products and contaminant-asbestos products in
`(H) current research on and technologies for disposal of asbestos-containing
products and contaminant-asbestos products; and
`(I) at the option of the panel, the effects on human health that
may result from exposure to ceramic, carbon, and other manmade fibers.
`SEC. 224. STUDY OF ASBESTOS-CONTAINING PRODUCTS AND CONTAMINANT-ASBESTOS
`(a) IN GENERAL- In consultation with the Secretary of Labor, the Chairman
of the International Trade Commission, the Chairman of the Consumer Product
Safety Commission, and the Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety
and Health, the Administrator shall conduct a study on the status of the
manufacture, processing, distribution in commerce, ownership, importation,
and disposal of asbestos-containing products and contaminant-asbestos
products in the United States.
`(b) ISSUES- In conducting the study, the Administrator shall examine--
`(1) how consumers, workers, and businesses use asbestos-containing
products and contaminant-asbestos products that are entering commerce
as of the date of enactment of this subtitle; and
`(2) the extent to which consumers and workers are being exposed to
unhealthful levels of asbestos through exposure to products described
in paragraph (1).
`(c) REPORT- Not later than 18 months after the date of enactment of this
subtitle, the Administrator shall submit to the Committee on Energy and
Commerce of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Environment
and Public Works of the Senate a report on the results of the study.
`SEC. 225. PROHIBITION ON ASBESTOS-CONTAINING PRODUCTS.
`(a) IN GENERAL- Subject to subsection (b), the Administrator shall promulgate--
`(1) not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this subtitle,
proposed regulations that--
`(A) prohibit persons from manufacturing, processing, or distributing
in commerce asbestos-containing products; and
`(B) provide for implementation of subsections (b) and (c); and
`(2) not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of this subtitle,
final regulations that, effective 60 days after the date of promulgation,
prohibit persons from manufacturing, processing, or distributing in
commerce asbestos-containing products.
`(1) IN GENERAL- Any person may petition the Administrator for, and
the Administrator may grant an exemption from the requirements of subsection
(a) if the Administrator determines that--
`(A) the exemption would not result in an unreasonable risk of injury
to public health or the environment; and
`(B) the person has made good faith efforts to develop, but has been
unable to develop, a substance, or identify a mineral, that--
`(i) does not present an unreasonable risk of injury to public health
or the environment; and
`(ii) may be substituted for an asbestos-containing product.
`(2) TERMS AND CONDITIONS- An exemption granted under this subsection
shall be in effect for such period (not to exceed 1 year) and subject
to such terms and conditions as the Administrator may prescribe.
`(1) IN GENERAL- Except as provided in paragraph (2), not later than
3 years after the date of enactment of this subtitle, each person that
possesses an asbestos-containing product that is subject to the prohibition
established under this section shall dispose of the asbestos-containing
product, by a means that is in compliance with applicable Federal, State,
and local requirements.
`(2) EXEMPTION- Nothing in paragraph (1)--
`(A) applies to an asbestos-containing product that--
`(i) is no longer in the stream of commerce; or
`(ii) is in the possession of an end user; or
`(B) requires that an asbestos-containing product described in subparagraph
(A) be removed or replaced.
`SEC. 226. PUBLIC EDUCATION PROGRAM.
`(a) IN GENERAL- Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of
this subtitle, and subject to subsection (c), in consultation with the
Chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Secretary of
Labor, the Administrator shall establish a program to increase awareness
of the dangers posed by asbestos-containing products and contaminant-asbestos
products in homes and workplaces.
`(b) GREATEST RISKS- In establishing the program, the Administrator shall--
`(1) base the program on the results of the study conducted under section
`(2) give priority to asbestos-containing products and contaminant-asbestos
products used by consumers and workers that pose the greatest risk of
injury to human health; and
`(3) at the option of the Administrator on receipt of a recommendation
from the Asbestos Policies Panel, include in the program the conduct
of projects and activities to increase public awareness of the effects
on human health that may result from exposure to--
`(B) ceramic, carbon, and other manmade fibers.
`(c) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS- There are authorized to be appropriated
such sums as are necessary to carry out this section.'.
(b) VERMICULITE INSULATION- Not later than 180 days after the date of
enactment of this Act, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection
Agency and the Consumer Product Safety Commission shall begin a national
campaign to educate consumers concerning--
(1) the dangers of vermiculite insulation that may be contaminated with
(2) measures that homeowners and business owners can take to protect
against those dangers.
SEC. 4. ASBESTOS-CAUSED DISEASES.
Subpart 1 of part C of title IV of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C.
285 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following:
`SEC. 417D. RESEARCH ON ASBESTOS-CAUSED DISEASES.
`(a) IN GENERAL- The Secretary, acting through the Director of NIH and
the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, shall
expand, intensify, and coordinate programs for the conduct and support
of research on diseases caused by exposure to asbestos, particularly mesothelioma,
asbestosis, and pleural injuries.
`(b) ADMINISTRATION- The Secretary shall carry out this section--
`(1) through the Director of NIH and the Director of the CDC (Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention); and
`(2) in collaboration with the Administrator of the Agency for Toxic
Substances and Disease Registry and the head of any other agency that
the Secretary determines to be appropriate.
`(c) MESOTHELIOMA REGISTRY- Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment
of this section, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
in cooperation with the Director of the National Institute for Occupational
Safety and Health and the Administrator of the Agency for Toxic Substances
and Disease Registry, shall establish a mechanism by which to obtain data
from State cancer registries and other cancer registries, which shall
form the basis for establishing a Mesothelioma Registry.