Congressional Bill Could Reduce Asbestos Protection

A new and controversial bill is before the U.S. Congress that would allow municipalities to avoid strict federal asbestos safety regulations for condemned buildings. But this legislation, submitted by a New York state congressman, could also put workers and the public in general at risk, say experts.

According to an article in the Watertown Daily Times, a New York state regional newspaper, U.S. Rep. William Owens, D-Plattsburgh, introduced this Common Sense Waiver Act. Specifically, it would allow localities to bypass complete asbestos abatements for buildings in immediate danger of collapsing. This could save local governments money.

Currently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires a full-blown asbestos abatement on such condemned buildings. However, Owens argues that it's unneeded. If you go through any town in New York, in virtually any place in the country, there are these structures that [local governments] really can't afford to take down because the owner has abandoned them. Owens suggests a non-certified person wrap the asbestos up, and take it to a disposal site. Everyone is worse off if you let the building collapse, he says. That in itself could release asbestos into the air.

 I think [the bill is] a really bad idea, says a safety director at a Rochester, N.Y., contracting company that deals with asbestos abatements. I think too often we put dollars and cents over people's health.

So far, the bill has not received much support, says the article.

Asbestos exposure is definitively linked to serious illnesses, including mesothelioma cancer. There is no safe level of exposure to asbestos. Have you or a loved one developed mesothelioma after exposure to asbestos in the workplace?

Many companies that exposed their workers to asbestos knew the dangers but did nothing to warn or protect them. Asbestos litigation can help bring justice to workers and their families. Call Sokolove Law today for a free legal consultation – see if you may be eligible to file a mesothelioma lawsuit.

Sokolove Law Team

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Last modified: October 4, 2017