Twenty-two years ago the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the final cleanup of the Ambler Asbestos Piles Site. Recently, however, a debris sample from the site tested positive for 60 percent chrysotile asbestos indicating a continuing public threat. This report was released last week by the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), the largest independent non-profit organization in the U.S. The group combines education, advocacy, and community for the prevention of asbestos exposure and to protect asbestos victims’ civil rights.
Due to these new asbestos contamination findings, the ADAO asked Congress to request the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) to investigate and evaluate the impact of asbestos contamination on the public health and environment at the Ambler Asbestos Piles and the BoRit Asbestos Superfund sites.
Linda Reinstein, ADAO President said, “Ambler, Pennsylvania is just one of many American communites still haunted by the most horrific and long-running public health crisis in history – asbestos waste contamination. Recent laboratory tests indicate that, for the residents of Ambler, there is no end in sight. As a result of the Keasbey and Mattison Company’s extensive manufacturing, processing, and distribution from 1897 to 1962, Ambler became known as the ‘Asbestos Capital of the World.’”
Joe Amento, an Ambler resident, lost his life to asbestos-caused mesothelioma after exposure to asbestos fibers in the Borough in the 1960s. His wife, Marilyn, is an advocate for the banning of asbestos and speaks out emphatically, “He lost his life at age 53. Our kids were 8 and 10 when he died. I don’t want anyone else to suffer and die as my husband did. I want our federal, state, and local governments to work together to make Ambler safe forever.”
Reinstein warns that even today asbestos imports continue and the deadly mineral remains legal. She urges Congress to pass legislation ensuring that the EPA can finally and totally ban asbestos in the United States. The more pressure put on Congress to initiate and pass the ban, the sooner this country will be free of new asbestos products on the market.