EWG Action Fund /// Asbestos Nation
Asbestos is lethal – but legal – and is still in our homes, schools and workplaces.
Thousands of people die every year from asbestos-related disease. Despite that, thousands of tons of asbestos continue to enter the United States annually. The public has no real way of knowing which companies are importing asbestos or what they’re using it for. With no way to know where asbestos may be, there’s no way to avoid exposure to it. In addition to lun...
- Thousands of people die every year from asbestos-related disease. Despite that, thousands of tons of asbestos continue to enter the United States annually.
- The public has no real way of knowing which companies are importing asbestos or what they’re using it for. With no way to know where asbestos may be, there’s no way to avoid exposure to it.
- In addition to lung cancer and other illnesses, exposure to asbestos causes mesothelioma, a painful and deadly cancer that attacks the lining of the lungs, stomach and other organs. Mesothelioma often kills its sufferers within months of diagnosis. There is no known cure.
- Many victims of asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma are veterans, first responders and firefighters who were exposed in the line of duty.
Who is behind the FACT (Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency) Act? Asbestos companies and the Chamber of Commerce. Asbestos victims, whom this bill purports to help, strongly oppose it.
- The opponents include the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, the American Association for Justice, Public Citizen, the Alliance for Justice, the Center for Justice and Democracy, U.S. PIRG and the Asbestos Cancer Victims Rights Campaign.
While asbestos companies work hard to keep importing this deadly substance and make sure that its whereabouts are secret, they are also pushing Congress to make it harder for asbestos victims to get the compensation they deserve.
- In the 1990s, Congress created a new provision of the bankruptcy code that allows asbestos companies to set aside money for asbestos injury claims in special trusts while staying open for business. The companies continue to profit and often end up paying the people they poisoned only pennies on the dollar of what they are owed.
- The FACT Act would require the trusts to issue quarterly reports that would only serve to drain the trusts’ resources, ensuring that victims would collect even less. These reports would also publicly disclose personal information about the individuals seeking compensation.
- Asbestos companies could ask for any additional information related to victims’ claims at any time, resulting in endless unnecessary paperwork that would only further burden the trusts.
- The asbestos companies assert that the FACT Act is needed because victims are fraudulently “double-dipping” from more than one trust. The truth is that a victim’s exposures to asbestos are often the result of several companies’ wrongdoing. It is in no way wrong or illegal for that person to seek compensation from each company for its share of the harm. The Government Accountability Office looked into the matter in 2011 and found no evidence of fraud.
- The FACT Act is merely an attempt by asbestos companies to delay compensating their victims for as long as possible.