The tragic loss of well-known actor Ed Lauter to mesothelioma, an asbestos-caused cancer, reverberated around the world. Mesothelioma strikes celebrities like Lauter, Steve McQueen and Warren Zevon, but also countless others whose suffering, as the disease chokes off their ability to breathe, is witnessed only by their heartbroken families. In the U.S. alone, 10,000 people die each year of this completely preventable disease. The asbestos victim of 2013 is often someone who hugged Daddy when he came home from work with asbestos on his clothes, or did her husband’s asbestos-covered laundry. Why, then, are we still importing this toxin into the U.S.? Why don’t we have an asbestos ban? When will we protect our citizens from this tragedy?
“One more victim of asbestos to mourn,” writes Fernanda Giannasi and ABREA’s family from Brazil. “Asbestos doesn´t only kill anonymous citizens and simple workers who are always paying with their lives for the common wealth. Today the world pays tribute to Ed Lauter, a celebrity from Hollywood who was murdered cowardly by a silent and insidious carcinogen which is currently very close to all of us and sometimes an invisible, subtle dust in our roofs, walls, heating.”
As a mesothelioma widow, my heart goes out to the Lauter family. Our community includes countless Meso Warriors like Mr. Lauter — asbestos victims and their families, many of whom lost their battle to this vicious cancer. In their memory, we continue to fight on for an asbestos ban.