Posted on April 4, 2016

Each year, ADAO dedicates April 1-7 to increasing awareness of asbestos and preventing exposure by bringing together experts and victims from around the world to share, learn, and take action.  To view all 7 days of Global Asbestos Awareness Week (GAAW) contributors and content on our landing page, please click here.

Asbestos is a known carcinogen and there is no safe level of exposure. Since the 19th century, asbestos  was widely used in construction, shipbuilding, and the automotive industry. Without a ban, asbestos remains legal and lethal in the USA and nearly 70% of the world today.

Today, we are sharing Paul’s Story, “Dust into Gold: Banning Asbestos Is Good Business” as well as critical information from the World Health Organization.

who-logoIn an effort to , we are also featuring information and resources from the World Health Organization (WHO) today, the 4th day of Global Asbestos Awareness Week.

Exposure to asbestos can cause mesothelioma, lung, gastrointestinal, colorectal, laryngeal, and ovarian cancers; as well as non-malignant lung, and pleural disorders.

The WHO states, “Asbestos is more likely to cause cancer of the lung than mesothelioma (estimated risk ratio 6:1), and the likelihood is greater in individuals who smoke tobacco.”  What does than mean? In the USA it is estimated that 2, 500 – 3,000 Americans die annually from mesothelioma. Using the WHO risk ratio, it is estimated that 15,000 – 18,000 Americans die annually from asbestos-caused lung cancer.

The WHO estimates that more than 107,000 deaths each year around the world are attributed to occupational exposure to asbestos, yet most people are unaware of its existence and dangers.  In a 2006 paper by the WHO, four essential recommendations to eliminating Asbestos-Related Diseases were reference. These four action items are:

  • By recognizing that the most efficient way to eliminate asbestos-related diseases is to stop the use of all types of asbestos
  • To provide information about solutions for replacing asbestos with safer substitutes and developing economic and technological mechanisms to stimulate its replacement
  • To take measures to prevent exposure to asbestos in place and during asbestos removal (abatement)
  • To improve early diagnosis, treatment, social and medical rehabilitation of asbestos-related diseases and to establish registries of people with past and/or current exposure to asbestos.

In 2014, the WHO published the Chrysotile Asbestos report to “assist Member States of the World Health Organization (WHO) in making informed decisions about management of the health risks attached to exposure to chrysotile asbestos.”

Together, we make change happen.

Linda Reinstein

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