Posted on January 22,2016

Congress Holds the Power to End the Man-Made Asbestos Disaster

Dream Team February 3The fate of asbestos and those who suffer from it’s deadly diseases lie largely with Congress. Our nation’s elected leaders have the power to come together and support legislation that protects the public from the remaining risks asbestos still poses while opposing bills that would further harm countless Americans and their families.

This is why ADAO, affected family members, and one very young patient are heading to Washington, D.C. in early February. We will be meeting with their Senator and their staff to call for their support to stand with us against the asbestos industry.

Among the people who will travel to Washington D.C. with ADAO is Missy from West Virginia who saw her dad succumb to mesothelioma just 3 weeks after his fatal diagnosis.

“His life was taken because he went to work daily to provide for his family,” said Missy. “I want to see working material changed to be safe for use and keep families together. Asbestos took the strongest man from me when my only son was just 4 months old. It robbed my family of so much and he will not get to see my son grow up. It was so hard to watch my daddy, the one who always took your hurt away, fade away so fast and be so upset, when all he did was work hard and try to make a good life for his family. Asbestos was in products he used daily in his jobs and what ultimately took his life. We must stop the use of asbestos and allow others a better chance at life.”

Carrie from Iowa watcher her father, a former Marine, die within months after his diagnosis.

“I lost my father July of 2012 just under 6 months after his diagnosis of mesothelioma. Nobody should have to ever face this kind of death sentence. As a daughter of a hard working Marine veteran, nobody should have to watch them die like this, as to why I advocate for a complete ban of asbestos.”

Michele from Arizona lost her husband, John to mesothelioma. He was a veteran of the Navy and spent years after his service working at a steel plant.

“He lived just 13 months after his diagnosis. At the age of 19, John was working in a steel foundry where he was exposed to asbestos. He had no idea that the fibers flying through the air that he breathed in would kill him at the age of 66. He worked hard his entire life planning for his retirement and every year he visited his doctor making sure he stayed healthy. He looked and acted years younger than his actual age. I watched this wonderful man gradually die before my eyes. When he died, he took part of me with him and my life will never be the same. When I think back on this disease I am both sad and angry ~ sad because John is gone and extremely angry because had he never been exposed to asbestos, he would still be here with me enjoying retirement. I don’t want to see other people lose their lives like John lost his.”

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake (R) has introduced the “so-called” FACT Act (S. 357) at the behest of the asbestos industry which is designed to delay and deny compensation for victims like John. The bill would also put these victims at greater risk of identity theft by requiring large chunks of personally identifiable information, including their full names, medical and work histories and a portion of their Social Security numbers to put on the Internet. Michele and the others joining ADAO in Washington will be calling on Senators to stop this bill and continue to fight to protect public health, consumer safety, the environment, and asbestos victims’ civil rights.

Every Story Matters

These are just a few examples of the many stories heard by ADAO over the years and we are honored to these victims deliver their heart-wrenching stories to the Senate during our meetings in February. These are never easy trips to make, but with . They not only take people away from their jobs and families, but force them to re-live one of the most painful memories of their lives. However, this is what our community has done for more than 12 years, and will continue to do until the threat of asbestos is gone for good.

You too can be heard. We are taking your stories too. If you have submitted one – there is not action needed. If you haven’t, please share your story using the ADAO “Share Your Story” online form.

Our elected leaders hear from the asbestos industry and their well-paid lobbyists each and everyday, so that is why it is vital we bring the human costs of asbestos to the offices of our elected leaders so they see and hear first-hand how the industry and its decades’ long use of the deadly dust continues to take away loved ones from families all across the country.

Please join me in thanking Michele (AZ), Carrie (IA), Mary (VT), Missy (WV), and Kim (IN) for using their voice to make change happen.

My thanks to each of you who give time, dollars, and leadership. During these past years, we have gone from “Together, change is possible” to “Together, we make change happen.”

Linda Reinstein

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