Posted on July 17, 2015

ADAO’s July 15 Congressional Briefing, “Asbestos: Impact on Consumer Safety, Public Health, and Asbestos Victims’ Civil Rights,” was dedicated to Paul Zygielbaum, amazing Mesothelioma Warrior, tireless ban asbestos advocate, and the 2007 ADAO Product Testing visionary and manager. 

2015 messages to Congress CANVAOn July 15, 2015, the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) went to Washington, D.C. on a mission: to inform Congressional Staffers with the facts about asbestos so that they could, in turn, help their bosses (i.e. your Senators and Representatives) make informed legislative decisions. Sharing our message with as many Staffers as possible was so critical to our mission, we asked you to call your Congressional offices to request attendance…

You called, they came.

We exceeding our expectations! Nearly 100 Congressional staffers attended ADAO’s July 15 “Asbestos: Impact on Consumer Safety, Public Health, and Asbestos Victims’ Civil Rights,” briefing. Your commitment and our community’s commitment to taking action literally made this briefing a huge success.

Our speakers – Jordan Zevon, Ann Samuelson, Mike Mattmuller, and Heather Von St. James – shared their stories so bravely and with such conviction, the emotional impact on the audience was visible. Jordan connected research with reality by sharing 15 years of recent product testing results that confirmed asbestos in consumer products and toys; Ann helped make the connection between asbestos and the long history of occupational asbestos exposure in the U.S.; Mike poignantly demonstrated the new mesothelioma patient profile from a personal perspective; and Heather shed light on “Deadly Hugs” and the fact that asbestos victims’ face personal medical, legal, and other costs up to $1 million a year.  To view and share the newest ADAO videos with Jordan, Heather, and Ann – check out our latest YouTube playlist.

Of course, ADAO also came prepared with copies of more than 250 of your messages and Share Your Stories, and delivered stories from each state to the appropriate Staffers in order to drive our message home. Posters and handouts were stationed at multiple touch points throughout the Briefing room, giving Staffers multiple opportunities to read your stories and take back handouts to share with their offices about their constituents. For this reason (among others), our Share Your Story collection of asbestos victims’ and patients’ stories is incredibly important. As just one example of the power of stories, Senator Steve Cohen (D-TN) actually attended our Briefing out of respect for longtime friend, ADAO Celebrity Chairman, and asbestos advocate, Jordan Zevon. If you have not already submitted your Share Your Story, please do so now.

While in Washington, DC, we also have the opportunity to directly interact with and touch the hearts of seven legislators, including meeting face-to-face with Senators Dianne Feinstein (CA), Jon Tester (MT), Al Franken (MN), Jeff Merkley (OR),  Cory Booker (NJ), and Steve Cohen (TN). We capped the trip off with a final, surprise meeting with Senator Barbara Boxer (CA) in the airport!

Wednesday’s Congressional Staff Briefing was, by far, the most impactful ADAO Briefing to date. Thank you to our our friends and their staff members in Congress, ADAO’s Briefing speakers, and our community’s advocates/supporters that made this educational event a success! You are truly making a difference.

For more information, please visit the 2015 ADAO U.S. Congressional Staff Briefing Resource page.

In unity,


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The Asbestos Awareness Organization (ADAO), a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, does not make legal referrals.