Menendez Bill to Protect US Jobs, Worker Health, Environment Moves Forward

Menendez Bill to Protect US Jobs, Worker Health, Environment Moves Forward

Washington - Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) today announced that his legislation to create federal toxicity standards for reflective highway marking beads has been passed through the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee as part of the Senate's Highway Bill. The Safe Highways Marking Act protects American jobs, protects worker health and protects the environment.

"American jobs and the health of American workers are on the line if we let foreign companies dump cheap, toxic glass beads into our market and onto our highways," said Menendez."I look forward to seeing this important provision pass the Senate as the Highway Bill is sent to the Senate floor."

Each year more than 500 million pounds of glass beads are used on U.S. highways to stripe pavement. Substandard imported glass beads undercut the U.S. domestic beads industry and could eliminate jobs in New Jersey and other states. Studies show that the presence of heavy metals in beads manufactured abroad not only expose American workers using the beads to contaminants; the beads have the potential of leaching toxic substances into surface water and groundwater. The legislation would keep substandard beads off the market by putting a 200 parts per million limit of arsenic or lead in reflective beads.

"Setting a federal standard for lead and arsenic in these products will protect highway workers from exposure to dangerous toxins and will protect the environment from contamination," said Scott Randolph, President and CEO of The Potters Group in Carlstadt, New Jersey, which manufactures glass beads. "We are extremely grateful to Senator Menendez taking action to protect the jobs at our facilities in Carlstadt. When enacted, this provision will help secure thousands of American jobs directly connected to the manufactured glass bead industry in the United States."