FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 23, 2022
ASBESTOS EXPOSURE RISKS AND CONCERNS SHARED AT COMMUNITY MEETING IN NEW ORLEANS
Anti-Asbestos Advocates Join With Photojournalist Earl Dotter To Hear Concerns From Residents And Employees Near Four Chlor-Alkali Plants That Continue To Use Asbestos
New Orleans, L.A. — Yesterday, the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), an independent nonprofit dedicated to preventing asbestos exposure through education, advocacy, and community initiative, joined with award-winning occupational and environmental health photojournalist, Earl Dotter, in New Orleans, Louisiana to host an educational community meeting and panel focused on potential asbestos exposure risks.
The in-person event provided a space for employees and their families who are currently or have been previously employed by Occidental Chemical, Olin, and Westlake Chemical Corporations in plants using asbestos diaphragms to speak about their experiences with said companies, and asbestos exposure. The meeting also gave local residents the chance to share how these chlor-alkali plants have impacted their families and their community.
“The chlor-alkali plants that use dangerous and outdated asbestos diaphragms must be held accountable for their choices. Their use of asbestos creates multiple potential pathways for exposure to this known, deadly carcinogen. By coming together we can raise awareness of the risks, support families, and help prevent unnecessary disease and death,” said Linda Reinstein, President and co-founder of ADAO. “Most Americans do not know that asbestos is still legal and lethal in the United States today and those most at risk from exposure, like these communities, deserve every opportunity to protect themselves from harm caused by the chlor-alkali industry’s decision to continue to use this deadly chemical,” she said.
There are four chlor-alkali plants in Louisiana that import and use raw chrysotile asbestos in their production of industrial chlorine and caustic soda:
- Occidental Chemical Corporation – Covent, LA
- Occidental Chemical Corporation – Taft, LA
- Olin Corporation – Plaquemine, LA
- Westlake Chemical Corporation – Plaquemine, LA
The panel discussion featured:
- Linda Reinstein, ADAO president and co-founder;
- Earl Dotter; Photojournalist;
- Travis London, Public Lab
Panelists addressed questions including, “What is asbestos? Where is it found? What can I do to prevent exposure and disease?” and highlighted valuable government research and resources that stress the importance of identifying early symptoms and warning signs of asbestos-caused diseases and where to find quality treatment.
“Asbestos robbed me of my grandfather and left a hole in our family,” said Travis London, from Public Lab. “There is no cure for asbestos-caused diseases. Education is the best prevention — and unfortunately, most Americans, like my family, are left in the dark when it comes to the dangers of asbestos exposure. The goal of this meeting was to educate those most at-risk about how to avoid exposure and what to do if they are exposed.”
“I would like to photograph local residents who have been impacted by chemical plants situated in their communities. During my visit, I photographed chemical plants along with any residential communities nearby them,” said photojournalist Earl Dotter.
Asbestos, a known carcinogen, kills 40,000 Americans each year. This meeting and panel was held in order to educate the communities most affected with relevant and life-saving information, resources, and treatment options. There is no safe level of exposure to asbestos, which can cause a variety of fatal illnesses including mesothelioma, asbestosis, and cancers of the lung, larynx, and ovaries.
ABOUT ASBESTOS DISEASE AWARENESS ORGANIZATION
Founded in 2004, the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) is the largest independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit in the U.S. dedicated to preventing asbestos exposure to eliminate asbestos-related diseases through education, advocacy and community initiatives.
Tracy Russo, EMAIL