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Friday, March 29, 2019

NJ Legislature Bans Asbestos

Both houses of the New Jersey Legislature has made history by passing a bill to ban the sale of asbestos products in the State. The legislation awaits the Governor’s signature. [Editorial Note:  A4416 NJ Leg Session 2018-19 was signed by the Governor  and enacted, Approved P.L. 2019, c.114 on May 10, 2019 - Click Here for Pamphlet Law].

The Senate Environment and Energy Committee favorably reports Assembly Bill No. 4416 with committee amendments. This bill would prohibit the sale, offer for sale, or distribution of products containing asbestos in New Jersey. The prohibition in the bill would take effect on the first day of the fourth month after the bill is enacted into law. 

The bill would also grant the NJ Department of Environmental Protection [DEP] authority to enter, during normal business hours, and upon presentation of credentials, any retail establishment to determine compliance. 

The Federal Government has yet to enact legislation to ban asbestos. Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley, along with Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), and Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), this year introduced the Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act of 2019, legislation that would ban the mining, importation, use, and distribution in commerce of asbestos, a known carcinogen, and any asbestos-containing mixtures in the United States of America. 

Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral widely used in manufacturing a variety of products beginning in the late nineteenth century. Although the majority of exposure to asbestos occurred between 1940 and 1980, in occupations such as construction, shipyards, railroads, insulation, sheet metal, automobile repair, and other related fields, exposure continues to this day. 

Asbestos fibers are inhaled by workers and remain in the lungs where they can cause disease. Fibers are also inhaled by family members or any other person coming into contact with asbestos wherever it may be. During the long history of asbestos litigation evidence has been offered that the companies which manufactured these products knew that their products would injure people, and that they actively conspired to hide this information to keep selling their products, and as a result they are now being held liable for the resulting injuries including asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma. 

Asbestos victims have compensation from their employers under the workers compensation act and civil damages against the suppliers, manufacturers and distributor of asbestos fiber. 

Under the bill, a person who violates this bill would be subject to a penalty of up to $2,500 for each offense. The bill would also allow the DEP to seek an injunction against a violator. 

Nothing in the bill shall be construed to impose liability on any news media that accept or publish advertising for any product otherwise subject to the bill. 

This bill, as amended and reported by the committee, is identical to Senate Bill No. 3262, as also amended and reported by the committee.

Updated: 1/17/2023


The author, Jon L. Gelman, practices law in Wayne, NJ. He is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (Thomson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (Thomson-Reuters). For over five decades, the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman  1.973.696.7900 have represented injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.

© 2023 Jon L Gelman. All rights reserved.

Recommended Citation: Gelman, Jon L.,  NJ Legislature Bans Asbestos, (2023),