skip to main content

S. 1115 (108th): Ban Asbestos in America Act of 2003


The text of the bill below is as of May 22, 2003 (Introduced). The bill was not enacted into law.


S 1115 IS

108th CONGRESS

1st Session

S. 1115

To amend the Toxic Substances Control Act to reduce the health risks posed by asbestos-containing products.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

May 22, 2003

Mrs. MURRAY (for herself, Mr. DAYTON, Ms. CANTWELL, Mr. BAUCUS, Mr. LEAHY, Mrs. BOXER, and Mr. JEFFORDS) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works


A BILL

To amend the Toxic Substances Control Act to reduce the health risks posed by asbestos-containing products.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ‘Ban Asbestos in America Act of 2003’.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    Congress finds that--

      (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 United States;

      (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; and

        (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 commercial products;

      (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 Priorities List;

      (20)(A) vermiculite from Libby was shipped for processing to 42 States; and

      (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’;

      and

      (2) by adding at the end the following:

‘Subtitle B--Asbestos-Containing Products

‘SEC. 221. DEFINITIONS.

    ‘In this subtitle:

      ‘(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.

      ‘(4) DURABLE FIBER-

        ‘(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;

            ‘(II) leaching; and

            ‘(III) other physical, chemical, or biological processes expected from contact with lung cells and other cells and fluids in the human body.

        ‘(B) INCLUSIONS- The term ‘durable fiber’ includes--

          ‘(i) richterite;

          ‘(ii) winchite;

          ‘(iii) erionite; and

          ‘(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--

        ‘(A) any individual;

        ‘(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; and

        ‘(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, as appropriate--

      ‘(1) a description of the current state of the science relating to the human health effects of exposure to asbestos and other durable fibers; and

      ‘(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.

    ‘(a) 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;

        ‘(E) industry;

        ‘(F) school officials;

        ‘(G) public health officials;

        ‘(H) labor organizations; and

        ‘(I) the public.

    ‘(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 seq.);

        ‘(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 buildings;

        ‘(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 PRODUCTS.

    ‘(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.

    ‘(b) EXEMPTIONS-

      ‘(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.

    ‘(c) DISPOSAL-

      ‘(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 224;

      ‘(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--

        ‘(A) durable fibers; and

        ‘(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 asbestos; and

      (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.

    ‘(d) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS- In addition to amounts made available for the purposes described in subsection (a) under other law, there are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section such sums as are necessary for fiscal year 2004 and each fiscal year thereafter.

‘SEC. 417E. MESOTHELIOMA RESEARCH AND TREATMENT CENTERS.

    ‘(a) IN GENERAL- The Director of NIH shall provide $1,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2004 through 2008 for each of up to 10 mesothelioma disease research and treatment centers.

    ‘(b) REQUIREMENTS- The Centers shall--

      ‘(1) be chosen through competitive peer review;

      ‘(2) be geographically distributed throughout the United States with special consideration given to areas of high incidence of mesothelioma disease;

      ‘(3) be closely associated with Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers to provide research benefits and care to veterans, who have suffered excessively from mesothelioma;

      ‘(4) be engaged in research to provide mechanisms for detection and prevention of mesothelioma, particularly in the areas of pain management and cures;

      ‘(5) be engaged in public education about mesothelioma and prevention, screening, and treatment;

      ‘(6) be participants in the National Mesothelioma Registry;

      ‘(7) be coordinated in their research and treatment efforts with other Centers and institutions involved in exemplary mesothelioma research; and

      ‘(8) be focused on research and treatments for mesothelioma that have historically been underfunded.

    ‘(c) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS- There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section $10,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2004 through 2008.’.

SEC. 5. CONFORMING AMENDMENTS.

    The table of contents in section 1 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (15 U.S.C. prec. 2601) is amended--

      (1) by inserting before the item relating to section 201 the following:

‘Subtitle A--General Provisions’;

      and

      (2) by adding at the end of the items relating to title II the following:

‘Subtitle B--Asbestos-Containing Products

‘Sec. 221. Definitions.

‘Sec. 222. National Academy of Sciences Study.

‘Sec. 223. Asbestos Policies Panel.

‘Sec. 224. Study of asbestos-containing products and contaminant-asbestos products.

‘Sec. 225. Prohibition on asbestos-containing products.

‘Sec. 226. Public education program.’.