By Lydia Wheeler - 03/10/15 11:10 AM EDT
Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinFunding boost for TSA sails through committee Senate panel passes 4.5B defense bill Reid: 'Lay off' Sanders criticism MORE (D-Ill.) wants the public to have access to up-to-date information on where asbestos has been found to reduce exposure to the potentially deadly substance.
The Reducing Exposure to Asbestos Database (READ) Act he introduced Tuesday would modernize the reporting requirements of the Asbestos Information Act and require manufactures, importers and those who handle asbestos-containing products to annually report information to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) about their products. The database would also list any publicly accessible location where products with asbestos have been reported in the past year.
The READ Act also directs the EPA to make this information available in an easily accessible searchable online database.
“Every year, far too many Americans and their families suffer the deadly consequences of asbestos exposure,” Durbin said in a release. “The goal of this legislation is simple: increase the transparency and accessibility of data informing the public about where asbestos is known to be present. This information will increase awareness, reduce exposure, and help save lives.”
The Asbestos Information Act, which President Reagan signed into law in 1988, requires manufacturers and processors of asbestos-containing materials to give the EPA a one-time report on their products. Since the law predates the Internet, Durbin said the information was published in the Federal Register and not easily accessible to the public.
“Asbestos exposure remains a serious public health threat, with at least 10,000 Americans dying each year from asbestos-related illnesses,” Heather White, executive director of Environmental Working Group and the EWG Action Fund, said in a statement.
“Senator Durbin’s plan would give concerned citizens valuable information that they can use to avoid coming into contact with this lethal substance.”