The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) has applauded a monumental step towards finally banning all asbestos in this country. President Obama has recently signed the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act, which has made this possible.

“A safety standard is established to ensure that no unreasonable risk of harm to health or the environment will result from exposure to a chemical under the conditions of use. The standard includes the protection of potentially exposed or susceptible populations. The standard does not take cost or other non-risk factors into consideration. The bill repeals the requirement that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) apply the least burdensome means of adequately protecting against unreasonable risk from chemicals.”

That being said, the ADAO now calls on the EPA, White House and Congress to ensure that the legislation is implemented in full and as quickly as possible. The ADAO is a global leader in the fight towards ending asbestos exposure. They raise awareness, focus on prevention, and drive policy. Linda Reinstein, their president, was present at the signing of the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act, and was personally thanked by the President for her hard work.

“I just want you to know that advocates like you, who fight every day to make this country a little bit better, are why we’re here today. And we’re very proud of you.”

Asbestos is a known carcinogen, and it has been determined that no level of exposure to it should be classed as safe. By signing the new act, the President has ensured that the EPA will be able to completely ban asbestos in this country, something that has been long overdue. To this day, around 15,000 people in this country die as a result of primary and secondary asbestos exposure, each death being unnecessary. The new act not only regulates asbestos, but also gives the EPA more powers to enforce legislation on the thousands of chemicals that people are exposed to on a daily basis.

The new law was brokered in part by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, who was also present at the signing, standing side by side with the President.

“The bill the President signed today is an historic step forward for public health and our environment. For the first time, Americans will know that the chemicals they encounter in everyday products are reviewed for their safety. The law also gives much-needed certainty to businesses—like Rhode Island’s Hasbro—which were dealing with a hodgepodge of state chemical safety regulations that makes it difficult to plan and invest. I am proud to have had a hand in crafting this law and to have helped carry on the legacy of Senator Lautenberg, who fought tirelessly to protect Americans from toxic chemicals.”

Volunteers and staff from the ADAO participated in many different negotiations and hearings in order to make sure that the voice of asbestos victims was properly heard. Many had to share their personal stories, and each person has been individually thanked for their contribution in making the bill a reality.

However, the ADAO warns that the end is not yet near. A lot of work still has to be done, and it has to be done quickly. The new act states that the EPA is able to take as much as seven years in order to completely assess, regulate, and ban the mineral. In that time period, it is believed that around 100,000 people in this country will die, and more people will continue to be exposed as well. The ADAO has therefore called on the EPA to make asbestos one of the first chemicals it evaluates, thereby quickly exercising its authority as well.

The Act, once properly implemented, will be able to save the lives of millions of people. The EPA has to find a way to completely ban asbestos, which is why the ADAO has now called on President Obama and on the Congress to ensure Americans continue to be protected. They have asked the to work closely together with the EPA so that the new Act is implemented sooner rather than later.

For the ADAO, the goal is to have a complete ban in place. Until that time, asbestos will continue to be present in automobile parts, construction materials, and children’s toys. The impact this has had and continues to have on families not just in this country, but all over the world,is tremendous. However, the new law is a clear step forward and one that will have a true positive impact.

The ADAO combines education, community initiatives, and advocacy to both prevent and end exposure to asbestos. Their goal is to ensure more public awareness is raised about how dangerous asbestos is, and that asbestos is banned in full. Until such time, they will fight tirelessly for the rights of asbestos victims and their families.