TRENTON, NJ – Asbestos is a real and oft-forgotten danger in the United States, taking the lives of as many as 15,000 Americans every year.
Assembly members Lisa Swain, Robert Karabinchak and Britnee Timberlake, however, are taking action to protect the health of New Jerseyans through their bill prohibiting the sale and distribution of products containing asbestos, which was advanced by the full Senate 35-0 Thursday to gain final legislative approval.
“There is absolutely no reason why any New Jerseyans should be at risk of asbestos exposure,” said Swain (D-Bergen/Passaic). “
The bill 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 to seek an injunction against the violator.
“It is our responsibility to best protect the health of our residents,” said Karabinchak (D-Middlesex). There is no benefit to the people of New Jersey to allow their potential exposure to toxins.”
“It makes no sense to allow any unnecessary risk to the residents of New Jersey,” said Timberlake (D-Essex/Passaic).
Asbestos is commonly found in cnstruction materials like roof and floor tiles, insultation and other products.
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 evidence showing that asbestos exposure increases the risk of developing lung diseases, including lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis.
The bill originally cleared the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee on September 17, the full Assembly on October 29 and now heads to the Governor’s desk.