H.R. 982 is anti-victim, anti-veteran and anti-privacy

My husband, Alan, was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2003. We had never heard of the asbestos-caused cancer, mesothelioma, and shortly learned it was incurable.

Alan chose to have a radical surgery which removed a rib and his left lung, stripped off his pericardium from his lungs and surgically replaced his diaphragm – all in hopes of more time with us.

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In 2005, the cancer came back on his remaining lung. Alan felt like he was breathing through a pinched straw, every breath, every minute, every day.  When his oxygen levels became critically low, he was tethered to supplemental oxygen. He fought a hard battle with chemotherapy for nearly a year.

In 2006, Alan took his last breaths with our then 13-year-old daughter and me by his side.  Alan paid the ultimate price for his job – his life. Our daughter was only ten years old when we began our arduous family battle to fight mesothelioma and work with Congress to ban asbestos.

Today I fight on behalf of Alan and those who have been exposed, are suffering, or have been silenced by asbestos.

I can tell you that the FACT Act (H.R. 982) is just another special interest bill.

Sick and dying patients suffering from mesothelioma and other asbestos-caused diseases and their family don't have the time and money to endure one more bureaucratic hurdle that delays compensation, denies justice and puts asbestos warriors privacy at risk.  This is just what H.R. 982 would do.

H.R. 982 is just the latest tactic in this anti-accountability campaign.  It is repulsive that the very same corporations that hid the dangers of asbestos from the public for decades have asked Congress for “transparency” in order to avoid being held accountable for killing Americans.

Corporate front groups working on behalf of the asbestos industry are pushing this legislation to set up many legal hurdles for Americans and delay access to the courts until it’s too late. 

Don't be fooled. The FACT Act was not written for asbestos victims. It is nothing more than yet another ploy for the asbestos industry to negate responsibility, deny liability, and delay compensation.

Instead of helping asbestos victims and their families, Congress is considering granting a handout to the very same corporations that put their health at risk and stole their lives.

Asbestos is remains legal and lethal in the U.S and can be found in our homes, schools, workplaces, and consumer products. Asbestos, a human carcinogen, has caused one of the worst man-made disasters in history. We've known for over a hundred years that asbestos was linked to disease but, even now, exposure continues. More than 31 million metric tons of asbestos has been consumed over a 110-year period just in the United States.

More than 10,000 Americans die every year from preventable asbestos-caused diseases. That's 30 American men, women, and children, who lose their lives every day. But that number does not include the families and children left behind with no means of financial support.

Asbestos is a hidden danger, an equal opportunity killer. That’s a fact, a transparent fact.  It is time for Congress to focus on public health, spend their time drafting legislation to indeed stop the imports and the carnage and, finally ban asbestos. Asbestos victims oppose the FACT Act and I urge the House to listen and act by voting NO on H.R. 982.

Reinstein is president and CEO of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO).