U.S. PIRG sends letter to Congress calling for overdue asbestos ban

Media Contacts
Emily Rogers

Former Zero Out Toxics, Advocate, PIRG

Taran Volckhausen

Former Communications Associate, The Public Interest Network

Legislation would eliminate asbestos from commercial products in the United States


WASHINGTON — Along with coalition partners, U.S. PIRG sent a letter to Congress Friday in support of a proposed bill to stop the commercial sale and use of all asbestos-containing products in the United States. The bipartisan bill is known as the Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now (ARBAN) Act of 2021. 

“A ban on asbestos is long overdue. We have known for decades that exposure to this toxin causes serious illness and disease but have failed to act. With thousands of American deaths happening each year because of asbestos, Congress must urgently pass the ARBAN Act,” said  Emily Rogers, U.S. PIRG’s Zero Out Toxics advocate.

There is overwhelming evidence that there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has said that asbestos exposure causes cancer and other serious illnesses in humans. In the U.S., asbestos exposure directly contributes to 12,000-15,000 Americans dying from asbestos-related illness and disease each year.

To-date, nearly 70 countries already have asbestos bans in place in order to protect people from this harmful, often deadly toxin, but the U.S. is not on that list. Previous attempts to pass similar legislation to the ARBAN Act failed despite broad congressional and stakeholder support. Passage of a commercial asbestos ban would be a major victory for labor unions, public health advocates, leading scientists and asbestos victims.

“I congratulate Senator Merkley and Senator Daines for finding a bipartisan path forward to introduce this common sense policy that eliminates asbestos from commerce in the United States,” said Rogers.