Asbestos companies are using their political pull to influence the passage of a bill harmful to asbestos victims in the U.S. House of Representatives. House Resolution 982, the so-called “Furthering Asbestos Claims Transparency Act,” has been scheduled for a vote next week. If passed, it would deny and delay justice for people diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma.
H.R. 982 does nothing to help the 10,000 Americans who die from asbestos-related diseases every year. Instead, it requires asbestos bankruptcy trusts to release confidential information about asbestos victims including their work history, family information and the last four digits of their social security numbers.
Releasing this information only benefits asbestos defendants. It will enable them to bury the trusts in information requests. Inevitably, this could slow down the claims process for asbestos victims who need those payments to offset their medical bills.
Asbestos exposure is linked to lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma. The health dangers of asbestos were known as early as 1900. Yet, companies used it anyway and failed to warn their workers and consumers. Once diagnosed, mesothelioma patients have an average prognosis of six to 12 months. For these patients, delayed compensation is often deadly.
Asbestos cancer victims need your help. Please contact your Representative and tell them to oppose H.R. 982. Then ask your family and friends to do the same.
Congress should stand with cancer victims, not the wealthy corporations who knowingly exposed them to a deadly toxin.