Clammyc wrote about how the Republican Party likes to destroy peoples’ lives. It seems to me that in order to combat all this, we should talk about reforming the Democratic Party into the party that likes to save peoples’ lives. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the big things, like Iraq; it also has to be the little things, like Patty Murray’s bill to ban asbestos in the US that passed the Senate.
1. BANS ASBESTOS
Prohibits the importation, manufacture, processing and distribution of products containing asbestos. The ban covers the 6 regulated forms of asbestos and 3 durable fibers. The EPA will issue rules to ensure asbestos products are off the shelves within 2 years of the bill’s enactment.
Now, how hard was that, to get a bill of that nature passed that will save peoples’ lives? Here are some of the health risks that will be averted:
People may be exposed to asbestos in their workplace, their communities, or their homes. This is why workers should undergo respirator face fit testing with G & L Consultancy Ltd prior to working around the lethal substance. If products containing asbestos are disturbed, tiny asbestos fibers are released into the air. When asbestos fibers are breathed in, they may get trapped in the lungs and remain there for a long time. Over time, these fibers can accumulate and cause scarring and inflammation, which can affect breathing and lead to serious health problems (6).
Asbestos has been classified as a known human carcinogen (a substance that causes cancer) by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the EPA, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (2, 3, 7, 8). Studies have shown that exposure to asbestos may increase the risk of lung cancer and mesothelioma (a relatively rare cancer of the thin membranes that line the chest and abdomen). Although rare, mesothelioma is the most common form of cancer associated with asbestos exposure. In addition to lung cancer and mesothelioma, some studies have suggested an association between asbestos exposure and gastrointestinal and colorectal cancers, as well as an elevated risk for cancers of the throat, kidney, esophagus, and gallbladder (3, 4). However, the evidence is inconclusive. Mesothelioma is a serious cancer that can gratefully affect the life of those who become affected by it. There is a lot to know about the illness and those who are interested can learn more about mesothelioma and its effects.
Asbestos exposure may also increase the risk of asbestosis (a chronic lung disease that can cause shortness of breath, coughing, and permanent lung damage) and other nonmalignant lung and pleural disorders, including pleural plaques (changes in the membrane surrounding the lung), pleural thickening, and pleural effusions (abnormal collections of fluid between the thin layers of tissue lining the lung and the wall of the chest cavity). Although pleural plaques are not precursors to lung cancer, evidence suggests that people with pleural disease caused by asbestos exposure may be at increased risk for lung cancer (9).
It has become a consensus among all of the Democratic candidates that we need to reform the healthcare system. So, if the House follows suit, then what will happen is the reduction of healthcare costs both at the governmental level and at the hospital level. There will be that much less demand for cancer treatments, bringing the costs of healthcare down over the long term. If we pass and implement a Universal Healthcare system, then this ban will reduce the costs of that over the long term.
And we need more such bills introduced, brought to the floor, and passed like Senator Murray’s bill was. This is all about branding — branding the Democratic Party as the party that likes to save peoples’ lives; if the Republicans obstruct, we can brand them as the party that likes to destroy peoples’ lives. They have already done the job for us through their hysterical attacks on Graeme Frost and their irrational support of the SCHIP veto. So, anytime the Republicans try to brand themselves as pro-life, it would be an oxymoron, in addition to being factually untrue. The Republican Senators understand this — none of them wanted to be branded as the Party that destroys lives even though they were the ones who obstructed her efforts in the Senate when they were in power.
The bill creates a public education campaign regarding asbestos. This could create a battleground that unions can pick for the future — they can insist that employers have adequate safeguards for employees working near high asbestos sites. This can create a ripple effect where workers demand safer working conditions for themselves so that they do not contract premature cancer.
And one of our long-term goals as outlined here should be the eradication of major diseases such as cancer. This means that this bill is not good enough. We cannot rest on our laurels if this bill passes the House and gets signed into law. We must follow through on this and ensure that the law is being implemented by both this administration and the next administration. Unlike the Party which Likes to Destroy Lives, we are the boss, which means that we are responsible for making sure that the law is implemented and enforced; therefore, we should maintain contact with Murray and other legislators who would be helpful on this issue.