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Senator Renews Call for Asbestos Ban

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., plans to re-introduce a bill that would ban the importation and exportation of asbestos products in the United States.

On March 1, Murray – who chairs the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety – will hear testimony on the need to ban asbestos and the deadly consequences of asbestos exposure for workers and their families. The hearing while take place at 10 a.m. in the Senate Dirksen Room 430.

Among those testifying will be one of the 10 Architect of the Capitol employees who recently asked the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to conduct a health hazard evaluation because of alleged unsafe working conditions in the tunnels underneath several U.S. government buildings. The workers allege, among other things, that their tasks in the tunnels expose them to asbestos. (For more, read "Capitol Tunnel Workers Request NIOSH Evaluation.")

Murray previously introduced the "Ban Asbestos in America Act" in the 107th and 108th terms of Congress. (Congress in January began its 110th term.) However, U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. – who chairs the Environment and Public Works Committee, which has jurisdiction over Murray's bill – has promised to push the bill through her committee.

If passed, Murray's legislation would ban the six regulated forms of asbestos, increase research for asbestos-related diseases and study asbestos-containing products and contaminated areas.

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