Senators voted Wednesday to delay a rule that required health care practitioners to report exposure to asbestos to their patients.
The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), is being referred to the Senate Finance Committee for further consideration.
The resolution, introduced by Sen, John Kennedy (D, LA), is co-sponsored by Sen., Richard Blumenthal, D-CT, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D., VT), Sen. Chris Murphy (D-, CT), Sen., Joe Manchin (D), and Sen. Mark Warner (D+VA).
In a letter to Blumenthal on Wednesday, Sen Blumenthal said the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee will study the issue in “closer coordination” with the Department of Health and Human Services.
He added that he has been working with his colleagues on the issue for more than a year and has been informed that “a decision on whether to implement this rule will not be taken until a more thorough study is completed and finalized.”
A recent study from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) concluded that asbestos exposure in the workplace has not been linked to cancer.
However, it is not known whether exposure to the substance at workplace-related exposures occurs in the general population.
In a statement to Breitbart News, a spokesman for the Department said that asbestos is not a human carcinogen, but it does pose health risks for the general public.
“The CDC has determined that asbestos does not pose an increased risk of lung cancer or cancer-related disease,” said John Coughlin, Director of the CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health.
“But it does cause long-term health impacts that must be considered in any regulation of asbestos exposure.
The regulations proposed by the Senate are not related to the risk posed by asbestos and will not affect the health of the general populace.
The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will take a lead role in developing the final regulations.
The bill is a response to an EPA rule released in March that requires companies to report any asbestos exposure they may have to their employees.
Under the rule, the health and safety of workers and their families was required to be a primary consideration.
The Senate bill would prohibit the agency from requiring reporting requirements for workers and employers if a worker has no direct exposure to any material or activity containing asbestos.
However it would not apply to employers that “may have an indirect exposure” of asbestos.
The resolution has been referred to Finance Committee Chairman, Sen., Patty Murray (D+, WA), for consideration.
We can’t afford to allow a single industry to hide behind a regulatory exemption that allows the government to protect their bottom line at the expense of the health, safety, and well-being of the American people,” Murray said.