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State Senator

Matt Lesser

Representing Cromwell, Middletown, Newington, Rocky Hill and Wethersfield

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Sen. Lesser’s Legislation to Prohibit the Sale of Goods and Use of Building Materials Containing Asbestos Passes State Senate

HARTFORD, CT – Today, legislation state Senator Matt Lesser (D-Middletown) introduced to ban the sale and usage of asbestos in building materials advanced in the state Senate by a unanimous vote. Sen. Lesser, the Public Health Committee vice chair, championed this legislation during debate on the state Senate floor.

“This bill will protect public health and the environment,” said Sen. Lesser. “Recent actions by the Trump Administration‘s EPA raise the prospects of long discontinued asbestos containing products being brought back into commerce.”

Senate Bill No. 47, “AN ACT PROHIBITING THE SALE OF GOODS AND USE OF BUILDING MATERIALS CONTAINING ASBESTOS,” will expand upon current limits on asbestos products. Under the bill, introducing, or delivering for introduction, into commerce any item containing asbestos, except when the item is part of the sale or rental of real property is prohibited. This legislation also prohibits using any materials containing asbestos for building construction or repair.

The first offense is generally punishable as a class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in prison, a fine of up to $1,000, or both. A repeat offense, or an offense committed with the intent to defraud or mislead, is an unclassified misdemeanor. This is punishable by up to one year in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.

This ban on introducing or delivering asbestos containing items into commerce is also incorporated into the State Child Protection Act. The Department of Consumer Protection can take certain actions to enforce the prohibition, including applying to court for an injunction and imposing civil penalties of up to $100 after notice and a hearing, with each violation and each day’s continuance of a violation deemed a separate offense.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), asbestos is the commercial name for six naturally occurring fibrous minerals which are resistant to chemical and thermal degradation. Asbestos can separate into smaller particles and be inhaled, according to the CDC.

People exposed to asbestos are at risk of developing life-threatening lung diseases like asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma. Sen. Lesser proposed legislation to ban this harmful product in the wake of the Trump Administration and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) choosing to not ban asbestos. According to EPA.gov, asbestos can legally be used in products like pipeline wrap, disc brake pads, gaskets, roof coatings and automatic transmission components.

Prior to passing the state Senate, this legislation made it out of the Public Health Committee by an 18-5 vote on March 8. The bill now awaits action by the state House of Representatives and a signature by Governor Ned Lamont.

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