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Pacific Heart, Lung & Blood Institute Position on Ban Asbestos Legislation
Date:4/4/2008

LOS ANGELES, April 4, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Pacific Heart, Lung & Blood Institute unanimously supports a complete ban on asbestos-containing products and adequate funding for research on asbestos-related diseases. The House Committee on Energy and Commerce's draft bill, currently referred to as the "committee print," is the best vehicle to address a true ban and provide meaningful funding.

Public health concerns should prevail

We support the committee print's ban on all asbestos containing products. We explicitly reject the "less than one-percent" exemption, which would allow the continued use of asbestos as long as this toxic mineral is less than one percent by product weight. Such an exemption would allow industry to include one pound of lethal asbestos in a 100-pound bag of insulation. This one-percent exemption would perpetuate the misery of the asbestos disease epidemic and is indefensible on public health policy grounds.

We support the committee print's broad, effective asbestos ban as the first federal legislation that recognizes what scientists have known for decades: there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos. The committee print's broad ban also reinforces the fact that there is no scientific or public health basis for allowing the one-percent exemption. The committee print also authorizes government-funded compliance testing of products in American markets, which will safeguard against machinations by industry to dodge the ban.

The Pacific Heart, Lung & Blood Institute supports the existing committee print as the most effective, science-based standard for effectively banning asbestos. Asbestos is responsible for the worst occupational health epidemic in our country's history. We have seen no compelling health-based reason to support an exemption that would, in our view, only perpetuate the asbestos health epidemic. Sadly, the exemption is a stark reminder of the asbestos industry's dark history
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SOURCE PACIFIC HEART, LUNG & BLOOD INSTITUTE
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