Columbia’s Ban of Asbestos

Columbia just passed a bill to ban asbestos. It was passed on June 12th. To many this may be especially surprising when they hear that Columbia was a major asbestos producer!
It’s only the second time a major asbestos producing country banned asbestos. The other country was Brazil in 2017, which at that point produced the 3rd most asbestos of any country in the world. When Linda Reinstein heard that Columbia passed the ban, she was not surprised. Almost a year ago she spoke at the University of Rosaria which is in Bogota, Columbia. She was speaking on the subject of asbestos banning and she could feel that there was an intense passion to stop the chemical that had ruined so many lives through asbestos related diseases from ruining anymore. Apparently many people were passionate to have asbestos ban. You can see that because when the lawmakers voted for or against the ban the vote was unanimously for it! But the people of Columbia weren’t always so passionate. Over the past 12 years a bill of some sort for an asbestos ban was presented to the lawmakers seven times and every time it was unable to pass. But now their passion against asbestos has built up so now the bill passed. Linda Reinstein said that all the heartache, anger and grief towards and from asbestos has come together to facilitate change. The US is still without an asbestos ban making it one of the few industrial countries still without one. What are the specifics to this ban in Columbia? It began immediately. But they have given companies until 2021 to find different, non harmful compounds to use in their products. Along with the stuff you would assume that an asbestos ban has the mining and exportation of asbestos is now banned. Maybe all the passion is from how many people died from asbestos. Since it was all over it makes sense. In 2011 the government was planning on building affordable housing but it was a big failure, especially because all the roofs were made with asbestos cement ceiling tiles! The National Cancer Institute in Columbia made the estimation that in from 2010 to 2014 there were 1744 deaths from asbestos exposure! And the population in Columbia is 49.07 million. But in America every year 3000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma, but the population is also significantly bigger at 327.2 million people. One of these deaths was of journalist Ana Cecilia Nino. She died in 2012, but before that she did create great nationwide interest to pass an asbestos ban. Her husband continued that fight, spearheading Columbia Without Asbestos which led the fight against asbestos which made the ban which now carries Nino’s name get passed. Reinstein thinks that there are similarities in between the long fight for an asbestos ban that went on in Columbia and the fight she is leading now that she started when her husband died from mesothelioma in 2004. When Reinstein was asked if the United States was trying to do something close to what Columbia did she said yes. Earlier this year the Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act of 2019 was introduced to the House of Representatives. It is now in the Energy and Commerce Committee. It is expected that it will reach the full House of Representatives later this year. As you can learn more about here, the United States has tried to pass bills like this before. The United States uses a lot of asbestos. Or at least it did until the EPA passed a restriction on asbestos that you can read about here. In fact, in 2018 750 tons of raw asbestos was brought to America. That’s a lot of asbestos, tons in fact. Yet the chloralkali industry managed to use it all! The chloralkali industry makes chlorine. Reinstein said that since asbestos is a human carcinogen it is extremely dangerous. And it should be banned here in the US as soon as possible. Columbia should be an example for us to get moving and ban asbestos. If a big producer of asbestos is willing to why shouldn’t we? Now how does this affect us? In the US not that much asbestos is imported anymore. The real danger is legacy asbestos in older homes and buildings. So because that is the real danger why not tackle that first. So if you have ‘legacy asbestos’ (or, quite frankly, any asbestos at all) in your home or building call us now at (312)-586-8713 to get it removed.

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