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EWG Action Fund: FACT Act Favors Asbestos Industry Over Justice, Public Health

Would waste assets meant to help victims, invade privacy and delay compensation
Contact: 
(202) 667-6982
ssciammacco@ewg.org
For Immediate Release: 
Wednesday, January 28, 2015

WASHINGTON — Legislation re-introduced by Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, would place new burdens on asbestos bankruptcy trusts, slowing compensation to victims suffering from fatal asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma, EWG Action Fund said today.

The Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act (HR. 526), or FACT Act, would specifically require the bankruptcy trusts to issue quarterly reports disclosing detailed information about individuals seeking compensation, resulting in significant delays and unnecessary burdens for victims.

EWG Action Fund Executive Director Heather White said:

The FACT Act supports the asbestos industry’s enduring, pervasive strategy to run out the clock on efforts by victims of asbestos-related disease to get justice before they die. Supporters of the bill assert that it’s intended to help victims. That couldn’t be further from the truth, given that it’s backed by the same interests that hid the lethal dangers of asbestos for decades.

If asbestos companies truly care about transparency, they need to come clean about where asbestos is still being imported, used and stored. The chilling reality is that asbestos is still everywhere – both lethal and legal in the United States.

We urge lawmakers to do the right thing and reject the FACT Act.

As EWG Action Fund documented in its groundbreaking investigation “Asbestos: Think Again,” thousands of Americans die each year from asbestos-related diseases. In addition to lung cancer and other illnesses, exposure to asbestos causes mesothelioma, an extremely painful and fatal cancer that attacks the lining of the lungs, stomach and other organs. Mesothelioma requires expensive medical treatment and often kills sufferers within months of being diagnosed.

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EWG Action Fund is a 501(c)(4) organization that is a separate sister organization of the Environmental Working Group. The mission of EWG Action Fund is to protect health and the environment by educating the public and lobbying on a wide range of environmental issues. Donations to EWG Action Fund are not tax-deductible.

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