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Bipartisan bill could help limit asbestos exposure

It is not often that positive news regarding asbestos makes national headlines, but overwhelming support for a new bill could mean better safety regulations for the future. After receiving bipartisan support, the bill only needs to pass Congress and then be signed by the President. It aims to expand protection against asbestos exposure to more communities and families.

While the Toxic Substances Control Act was an excellent first step toward protecting Ohio communities from exposure to toxic substances, it is considerably outdated. First implemented in 1976, the approval of this bill would implement the first ever overhaul of regulations. According to those familiar with the matter, considerations for those exceptionally vulnerable to these toxins -- such as pregnant women and children -- were not included in past standards. The Environmental Protection Agency -- EPA -- will now have to perform evaluations for both existing and new chemicals against a safety standard that includes these individuals.

In addition to conducting additional evaluations for safety, the EPA would have deadlines that they could enforce against offending companies. The bill would also provide the funding necessary to conduct other new responsibilities. Aside from providing clearer avenues in which the EPA can act, chemical companies will be limited in their ability to claim confidentiality regarding chemical information. Increased transparency would hopefully result in companies moving away from using unnecessary toxic substances.

The bill must still receive Congressional support before it can be signed off and put into law, but hopes are high for the bipartisan bill. Limiting asbestos exposure in Ohio and across the nation would result in cleaner and healthier environments for everyone. This bill does not change the fact that victims of asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma can file for and recover compensation for their medical bills and other monetary damages from the individual or business who subjected them to wrongful exposure.

Source:, "White House backs bill to overhaul asbestos regulation", May 23, 2016

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