Democrats and Republicans are each accusing the other of holding up a bill to ban asbestos that had been expected to pass with little controversy this week.
The Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act exited committee with just one no vote and was expected to sail through the voting process without amendments.
But Democratic aides on the Energy and Commerce Committee say that progress has stalled as GOP lawmakers object to a provision that assures the legislation would have no impact on ongoing litigation over injuries tied to use of talcum powder.
“Everyone should be able to support a ban on this known carcinogen, which has no place in our consumer products or processes. More than 40,000 Americans die every year from asbestos exposure, but Republicans are willing to look the other way,” Committee Chairman Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PallonePharma execs say FDA will not lower standards for coronavirus vaccine Dem chairmen urge CMS to prevent nursing homes from seizing stimulus payments Federal watchdog finds cybersecurity vulnerabilities in FCC systems MORE (D-N.J.) said in a statement.
“Republicans walked away from this opportunity to ban asbestos merely over language that prevents shutting the courtroom door. This raises serious questions about the sincerity of their intentions,” he added.
Republicans say their only issue with the legislation is a recently-added provision they say will increase litigation.
Asbestos, tied to lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis, is still used in a surprising number of products despite its dangers, largely within the automotive sector along with other industrial uses.
The bill bars the production, use and importation of asbestos, implementing a ban on the substance within a year of its passage, with a few narrow exceptions.
The legislation would amend the Toxic Substances Control Act, which doesn’t deal with the cosmetic uses of asbestos being