Posted on December 31, 2020
Though 2020 was more challenging than any of us could have foreseen, Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) is grateful to have been able to continue safely working towards an asbestos-free world. While adjusting to the novel coronavirus pandemic, thanks to many, we were able to continue to make large strides in our legal and legislative strategies towards banning asbestos and promoting public health.
As this year comes to a close, we want to highlight our top eight major accomplishments. We appreciate each and every one of our supporters, stakeholders, and champions who helped us succeed so much this year.
- Judge Chen’s Court Order to the EPA
Thanks to the contributions of many, we achieved a great victory in the courts on December 22: District Court Judge Edward J. Chen ordered EPA to amend its Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) rule to require companies importing or using asbestos to report their activities.
This is a landmark win for ADAO and public health, and comes after years of hard work, dedication, and energy. Judge Chen’s decision is an unequivocal rejection of EPA’s weak and inadequate efforts to prevent exposure to a deadly carcinogen that has taken hundreds of thousands of lives.
- 15th Congressional Staff Briefing
On August 25, we held our first ever virtual staff briefing — but our 15th successful briefing overall. Our panel of experts for the briefing included: Barry Castleman, ScD; Lindsay Dahl, Beautycounter; Scott Faber, Environmental Working Group; Raja Flores, MD; Arthur L. Frank, MD, PhD; Liz Hitchcock, Safer Chemicals Healthy Families; Brent Kynoch, Environmental Information Association: Richard Lemen, PhD, MSPH; Celeste Monforton, DrPH, MPH, American Public Health Association; Linda Reinstein; and Robert Sussman, JD. This briefing was dedicated to Mike Mattmuller, an amazing Mesothelioma Warrior, who passed away in April.
We discussed many topics, including a new study on racial disparities in treatment of mesothelioma;/ the impact of legacy asbestos in homes, schools, and buildings; asbestos imports, use, and contamination in consumer products and cosmetics; and EPA’s dangerously narrow Draft Risk Evaluation.
- Omaze and Celebrities Raise Awareness and Fund for ADAO
We partnered with acclaimed filmmaker Judd Apatow, Rhino Records, and ADAO spokesperson Jordan Zevon for “Record Store Day” in support of ADAO’s fundraising efforts. Judd curated the album, “Warren Zevon’s Greatest Hits…According to Judd Apatow,” and sales of the record went towards supporting our art, advocacy and awareness initiatives.
Omaze, a company that “exists to empower nonprofits to do their world-changing work,” dedicated a fundraising campaign to raise money for ADAO. We were incredibly excited about this partnership with Omaze, because not only did it help us continue our education, prevention, and policy efforts, but it also awarded a lucky person and their three guests a trip to Hawaii! Now that’s what we call a fundraiser.
- Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals Report slamming the EPA’s Draft Risk Evaluation for Asbestos
ADAO’s Science and Prevention Advisory Board and colleagues made credible and hard-hitting presentations to the EPA Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals (SACC) and both individually and as ADAO, we submitted detailed and comprehensive comments and recommendations to EPA and the SACC. The SACC echoed our concerns and recommendations in a lengthy report that was highly critical of the draft evaluation and called for extensive changes. The report said that the draft evaluation “was not considered adequate and resulted in low confidence in the conclusions.”
- Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act
We continued to work with lawmakers to move the Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act of 2019 (ARBAN) to the floor for passage in both the Senate and the House. With its broad bipartisan and stakeholder support, the bill would help achieve justice for all victims of asbestos-related diseases and prevent future asbestos-caused deaths. The bill made historic progress by being voted out of the Energy and Commerce Committee 47-1 in November of 2019. Due to pressing COVID legislation, the bill has yet to be voted on, but we look forward to continuing our educational conversations with members of Congress through the new year.
- ZOOM EVENTS: Conversation, Press Conference, and Congressional Staff Briefing
We hosted five virtual community events via Zoom for educational purposes, and also to bring the ADAO community together during a time when many people were isolating for months at a time. Led by 18 experts, ADAO expanded our network of physicians, researchers, public health practitioners, labor union members, and asbestos victims by conducting extensive online outreach campaigns on a variety of social media platforms.
- ADAO Media and Influence
We presented at multiple national and virtual conferences and events to advance awareness and education regarding asbestos and asbestos-caused diseases. To name just a few: We presented the keynote speech — titled “Meso Warrior and Survivor: Pain Endured and Lessons Learned” — at EIA’s annual conference; spoke at Less Cancer’s yearly National Cancer Prevention Workshop; and presented virtually at the 2nd International Meeting on Asbestos, held this year in Portugal. We continue to be a sought-after resource for the media as they report on asbestos-related news.
- EPA Flawed and Narrow Risk Evaluation for Asbestos — ADAO Takes Action
Our challenge to the scientific and legal basis of EPA’s Asbestos Risk Evaluation received extensive coverage in the trade press. After the favorable decision we obtained from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in 2019, we joined with many stakeholders in pushing EPA to include exposure to legacy asbestos products in its litigation – a goal we are now on the verge of accomplishing.
Thank you again for standing by us in 2020. Together, we are making a difference, and we look forward to doing even more and reaching even further in 2021.