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McCollum Opposes Bill That Releases Asbestos Victims' Personal Information

March 9, 2017
Press Release

Congresswoman Betty McCollum (DFL-Minn.) spoke on the House Floor today against H.R. 985, the so-called Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act, a bill that makes it harder for asbestos victims to hold corporate wrongdoers accountable and that irretrievably releases the personal information of asbestos victims on the Internet. Congresswoman McCollum delivered the following remarks against H.R. 985:

Asbestos is a deadly poison that can cause lung cancer and mesothelioma. Once detected, these patients survive only, on average, for only eight to fourteen months.

This was true for Congressman Bruce Vento, who proudly served the families of the Fourth District of Minnesota for more than twenty-three years in this House. Bruce was a friend, and he died from mesothelioma eight and a half months after he was diagnosed.

Congress has a responsibility to find real solutions to support mesothelioma victims and their families. But H.R. 985 would not support the families. In fact, it exposes families at a time of great vulnerability. It exposes them by putting their identity, their name, their address, and the last four digits of their social security number on a public website, when this information is already available in a confidential manner.

It is especially outrageous to me that once again this legislation is on the floor and it fails to protect children who are victims of asbestos exposure from having their information shared in public. Parents should have the peace of mind knowing that their child’s privacy is secure and not on the internet where who-knows-who could possibly prey on them.

I ask all my colleagues to stand with the mesothelioma victims, stand with their families, stand with their children, and oppose this bill, as they have asked us to do.

Thank you Mr. Chair, I yield back.