The Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act of 2019 will soon be debated by lawmakers and may become enacted. This Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act would completely prohibit all manufacturing, processing, and distribution of any kind of asbestos. The Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act is an attempt to rid the United States of all asbestos, and prevent any new ways in which people could be exposed to asbestos and reap the deadly consequences.
The American Chemistry Council previously did not support the Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act due to how it would affect different industries it is involved in. However, they have recently changed their stance, stating that if the Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act provided an exception for the chlor-alkali industry, would no longer oppose the act.
Mike Walls, the ACC vice president for regulatory affairs had this to say on the matter, “We certainly are not opposing a ban for all other uses of asbestos. I just want to make that clear. The ACC’s opposition [on legislation] is focused on the impact on the chlor-alkali industry, and the supply of chlorine to this nation.”
He believes that it is unfair for a blanket ban to be used on the chlor-alkali industry as it relies heavily on asbestos. He also argues that the asbestos used in the chlor-alkali industry were already heavily regulated and safe.
“A blanket ban that includes the chlor-alkali industry’s use of asbestos would have significant impact on the supply of chlorine, which could in turn jeopardize public health. Chlorine is essential to ensuring access to safe drinking water for millions of American families, lifesaving healthcare and pharmaceutical products,” he said at a congressional Environment and Climate Change subcommittee hearing.
Although Walls seems to have a convincing argument, other alternatives have already been shown to be effective in the chlor-alkali industry. This means that there is no real reason for why the chlor-alkali industry needs to keep using asbestos.