News & Updates

New Jersey’s Bid to Stop Mesothelioma: Lawmakers Approve State Ban on Asbestos

Mar 5, 2019

In a time when partisanship has taken over much of our lives, diseases like malignant mesothelioma don’t discriminate between red states and blue states. The same can’t be said for decisions about what to do with the deadly material that causes mesothelioma. Republican-led administrations lean toward industry-friendly laws and fewer regulations, and the Trump administration has proven no exception to this rule. In the face of a federal walk-back of attempts to ban asbestos from the United States, the state of New Jersey is taking matters into its own hands. The state just advanced a bill to prohibit the sale and distribution of products containing asbestos by unanimous vote.

New Law Would Fine Those Who Sell Asbestos Products

At the heart of the legislation is concern over asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma, and protecting the lives of the people of New Jersey. According to state assembly member Lisa Swain, one of those who advanced the bill, “There is absolutely no reason why any New Jerseyans should be at risk of asbestos exposure.” The details of the legislation are straightforward. They prohibit the sale or distribution of any asbestos-contaminated product within the state and subject violators to fines of up to $2,500. Beyond the state-imposed penalties, the law would also make way for reports to be made to the state Department of Environmental Protection so that the sale and distribution could be stopped.

Concerns Over Asbestos-Related Disease Drives Legislation

Robert Karabinchak is another of the bill’s sponsors, and he points directly to mesothelioma and other health concerns as what drove him and his colleagues to write the bill. “It is our responsibility to best protect the health of our residents. There is no benefit to the people of New Jersey to allow their potential exposure to toxins.” And his fellow legislator Britnee Timberlake added, “It makes no sense to allow any unnecessary risk to the residents of New Jersey.” The group introduced the bill shortly after the Environmental Protection Agency announced that they would be permitting new uses of asbestos on a case-by-case basis instead of banning it entirely as had been anticipated.

The passage of the bill, which is being hailed by mesothelioma victims and others seeking a national asbestos ban,  marks the end of a process that began in September, when it first cleared the state’s Environment and Solid Waste Committee. All that remains to be done now is for the bill to be signed into law by the governor, which is expected soon.

As a state that has long been dominated by industry, New Jersey has lost many of its residents to mesothelioma, but the passage of this law is a step in the right direction to preventing future asbestos exposure. If you have any questions about mesothelioma or asbestos, call the Patient Advocates at today at  1-800-692-8608.