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Swain Bill Banning Sale and Distribution of Products Containing Asbestos Clears Assembly Panel

(TRENTON) – Asbestos is a real and oft-forgotten danger in the United States, taking the lives of as many as 15,000 Americans every year. Assemblywoman Lisa Swain, however, is taking action to protect the health of New Jerseyans through her bill prohibiting the sale and distribution of products containing asbestos, which cleared the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee on Monday.

“There is absolutely no reason why any New Jerseyans should be at risk of asbestos exposure,” said Swain (D-Bergen/Passaic). “While the current Administration in Washington may be okay with rolling back environmental health standards that protect so many Americans, here in New Jersey we are not, and this bill ensures we will stay proactive in protecting our residents.”

The bill (A-4416) would bar any individual from selling or disseminating any product which contains asbestos in New Jersey. Anyone who violates the tenets of the bill would be subject to a fine of up to $2,500. The bill would also allow the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to seek an injunction against the violator.

The introduction of this bill is in response to a recent move made by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics to allow for the manufacture of new products containing asbestos in a case-by-case basis. This move was made despite the overwhelming evidence showing that asbestos exposure increases the risk of developing lung diseases, including lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis.