I urge everyone to read Libby, Montana’s The Western News May 8, 2015 article – EPA releases proposal plan – (continues on page 7A). There is hope that this cleanup effort will surpass previous efforts. In 2006 the EPA raised the standard to a higher testing criteria: from a 5-point composite sample to a 30-point composite sample. With this more thorough sample, the finest particles of tremolite, for example, should not slip by unnoticed. The EPA estimates that 100 previously examined sites will be re-examined. This is good news for Libby, a small city that deserves a final, accurate cleanup report to show the world that the nightmare is finally over. The illnesses go on for many, but there is a brighter future ahead.
On May 5, while I was researching asbestos, I went to the asbestosnetwork.com site, and I filled out a question form on the Home page. My question was in reference to the Senate’s passing of Senator Murray’s Bill to Ban Asbestos in October, 2007.
I asked: “According to the EPA website, there are still many products sold in the US that have asbestos in them. How can this happen if asbestos is banned?”
Answer: “Products may not have asbestos deliberately added to them under the Act. If the asbestos is found, naturally, in the components used to make a product, then that product is not banned.”
I asked a second question: “Thank you very much for your response. I just have one more question. Libby, Montana had the Zonolite Mine that produced vermiculite with asbestos in it. If the Zonolite Mine was operating today, according to the Act, its vermiculite — tainted naturally with asbestos — could be legally mined and sold today. Is that correct?
Answer: “That’s my understanding. Also, please note this Act never got approval in the House of Representatives.”
Below is an excerpt from an article posted on the Asbestos Network website. The “Act” referred to in the answer above is explained further in the following three paragraphs:
WASHINGTON, DC — November 9, 2007 — The US Senate unanimously voted to pass The Ban Asbestos in America Act, an encouraging step towards banning the sale or use of asbestos in the United States. The purpose of the measure was to stop the import, manufacture, processing, or distribution of products containing asbestos in the United States. The vote to ban asbestos is great news for many who have waited for so long to see the measure pass. Sen. Patty Murray (D–WA) has been pushing to get the measure through for over six years in what might have seemed like an uphill battle.
“When you go after an issue like this, you’re fighting a lot of big–time money. Lobbyists for manufacturers, the sand and gravel folks, people with commercial interest and a lot of clout fought this,” Sen. Murray said. “I wasn’t surprised that many other [lawmakers] didn’t want to get involved because they thought it was impossible.” (Senate Passes Murray Bill to Ban Asbestos, October 4, 2007).
Asbestos activists hail the passing of the measure as a victory. Executive Director and Cofounder of Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) Linda Reinstein said, “We praise the Senate for passing Senator Murray’s monumental Ban Asbestos in America Act and now encourage the House to follow this important bi–partisan lead for a full ban on asbestos. See more of the article at: asbestosnetwork.com.
As hard as Senator Patty Murray and others worked to get this passed through the Senate, the House did not pass it. And even if it had passed, there were still ways for asbestos to reach us all through many products that had it ‘naturally within its composition,’ such as products containing talc that had asbestos as part of its natural makeup (talcum powders, crayons, face powders).
The EPA website: http://www2.epa.gov/asbestos/us-federal-bans-asbestos points out the many products that are not banned at this time. How sad that our country allows businesses to provide for sale so many products—many without warning labels of any kind—that contain asbestos, an ingredient that can lead to cancers, lung diseases, and death.