Posted on September 2, 2014

XX World Congress on Safety and Health "Asbestos in the Americas" Symposium 2014

XX World Congress on Safety and Health “Asbestos in the Americas” Symposium

On August 24-27, I had the honor to represent the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) at the 20th World Congress on Safety and Health at Work in Frankfurt, Germany. The conference was spectacular, with attendees and presenters from around the globe, all united under one cause – to universally improve workers’ health and safety.

Asbestos is on everyone’s’ radar, including International Labour Organization Director-General Guy Ryder’s. In his speech, the new director spoke about asbestos, expressing his conviction to support previous ILO and WHO policy regarding elimination of asbestos-related diseases.

During the  “Asbestos in the Americas” two-hour symposium, I was honored to present alongside the following renowned experts from North and South America:

1) Dr. Eduardo Algranti (Chair + Speaker) – Brazil
2) Dr. Julieta Rodriguez-Guzman (Moderator + Speaker) – United States
3) Dr. Andrés Trotta and Dr. Vilma Santana – Brazil
4) Dr. Guadalupe Aguilar Madrid – Mexico
5) Dr. Georg Johnen – Germany
6) Dr. Laura Van den Borre – Belgium
7) Dr. Paul Demers – Canada

My presentation, “Challenges and Progress in Increasing Worker Safety and Mitigating Asbestos Exposure in the USA,” included:

  • Reviewing of mortality statistics, new cohorts, & studies
  • Analyzing risk perception and management
  • Discussing new trends in building a culture of prevention

The International Chrysotile Alliance of Trade Unions taking photos of me

In my speech I utilized the U.S. —  where asbestos is still “legal and lethal” —  as a case study, to spur stronger education, compliance, and enforcement, as well as more comprehensive protection for workers and their families, in countries around the world. Although there are still a few nations using the ABC (Anything but Chrysotile) defense, misleading their citizens to believe that only certain types of asbestos kills, the great majority of the health and safety professionals in the 141 countries united to support an asbestos ban.

Unfortunately, but unsurprisingly, pro- Chrysotile criminals from Russia, Brazil, and Zimbabwe were at the symposium peddling their propaganda and rhetoric. Need I say more

But let me tell you what these Chrysotile supporters will not. The World Health Organization (WHO) states that all forms of asbestos are carcinogenic to humans and may lead to mesothelioma and lung, larynx, and ovarian cancer.

As the Acting U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Boris Lushniak said, “Asbestos is not a thing of the past.  It continues to this day.” 

To learn more about the World Congress, and to see my presentation, including ADAO resources on “Asbestos in the Americas” please consult the ADAO World Congress Resource Page.

In unity,


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