Asbestos is the leading cause of mesothelioma, lung cancer and other chronic respiratory diseases. According to a 2015 report, New Jersey has the 8th highest asbestos related deaths in the country. From 1999-2013, the same report estimated 128,000 to 160,000 people died from asbestos exposure, including 9,395 in New Jersey.

U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J. 6th District, said people are under the assumption that asbestos has already been banned. But that's simply not true.

Pallone said a couple of months ago at an Energy and Commerce Committee hearing, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler said he was going to ban asbestos. Instead, Pallone said, Wheeler put out a proposal asking people to provide good reasons as to why asbestos manufacturing and production should continue.

"It's been 40 years since the EPA began to ban asbestos. Today, asbestos exposure still claims the lives of about 40,000 Americans every year. Enough is enough: It's time to fully ban this toxic and deadly substance and I believe the only way that will possible is by passing this legislation," said Pallone.

He added that there are so many cases of people who have had cancer and other diseases and there are alternatives. So there really is no reason to allow asbestos into our country at all.

Asbestos is manufactured abroad. The Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act would end imports and manufacturing.

It's the fibers in asbestos that's toxic. It gets into a person's lungs, causing cancers and other disorders, which are almost always fatal.

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