Consumers will be safer from cancer-causing building materials under legislation signed into law today by Gov. Jay Inslee.

Asbestos has been known to be a carcinogen for decades, but many asbestos-containing building materials are still legal. SSB 5458 would require that any products containing asbestos be clearly labeled to ensure that consumers are informed that the product contains this dangerous element.

“Consumers deserve to know if they are buying a product that’s known to cause cancer,” said the bill’s sponsor, Senator Andy Billig, D-Spokane. “With this legislation, consumers will gain the transparency necessary to make safe choices for themselves and their families.”

Exposure to asbestos is widely recognized as a health hazard. Breathing asbestos fibers can damage the lungs and impair lung functions severely enough to cause disability and death. Asbestos also causes lung cancer and other diseases such as mesothelioma, which is a cancer of the membrane lining of the lungs or stomach. In 1989, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency banned most uses of asbestos. However, that rule was later overturned, allowing the manufacture, importation, processing or distribution for many of the products containing asbestos that had been banned. Products containing asbestos that are currently not banned include cement flat sheet, clothing, pipeline wrap, roofing felt, vinyl floor tile, cement shingles, cement pipe, millboard, automobile components and non-roofing and roof coatings.

The bill would require that any asbestos-containing building material must feature a label that clearly identifies it as containing asbestos. The label must be placed on the exterior packaging or wrapping with the product name and description and on the exterior surface of the building material itself.

“The idea for SB 5458 started when I received an e-mail from a constituent who works for the Spokane Clean Air Agency,” said Billig. “This bill represents the important role of constituents in the legislative process. I am grateful for the community input on this bill which will lead to increased transparency and safety.”


Gov. Inslee signs SB 5458 with Sens. Billig and Schlicher, Rep. Upthegrove


Gov. Inslee signs SB 5458 with Sens. Billig and Schlicher, Rep. Upthegrove