Posted on September 30, 2019
Last week we gathered together for Mesothelioma Awareness Day, to honor and remember those lost to the asbestos-caused illness.
Every American should know that there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos, yet it remains legal and lethal in the U.S. today. Americans can be exposed to asbestos in everyday life, starting with their homes, schools, and workplaces. Additionally, the fiber can be found in consumer and automotive products, cosmetics, and construction materials. The Chlor-Alkali industry, currently the sole importer and user of asbestos in America, spent more than $1,000,000 USD on purchasing raw chrysotile asbestos from Brazil and Russia in 2018.
This puts all of us, our family members and our future generations at risk of preventable asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma, cancer of the lung, larynx, and ovaries as well as other non-malignant diseases such as asbestosis and pleural plaques. Each year, about 125 million people in the world are exposed to asbestos at the workplace. Though it is banned by nearly 70 other countries, the United States remains the only western industrialized nation to still use this fiber in commerce. Each year, nearly 40,000 Americans pay the price for this global toxic trade with their lives.
For ADAO, Mesothelioma Awareness Day was not just about awareness, but also ACTION.
On September 26, 2019 the Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change of the U. S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce, moved the bicameral Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act of 2019 (ARBAN) forward to the full committee for markup. This is another critical step forward for ARBAN in the House and moves us significantly closer to enactment of a comprehensive ban. Upon passage in the subcommittee, the bill will then need to clear the full House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and proceed to the floor. With this momentous step, a federal bill is in sight, which will ban asbestos once and for all, with no loopholes or exceptions. With the support nearly 60 cosponsors and 17 trade unions and organizations, our collective voices are stronger than ever before.
On top of this critical step forward, for the third year in a row, an American flag was flown atop the U.S. Capitol building in honor and remembrance of asbestos victims for Mesothelioma Awareness Day. ADAO is eternally grateful to United States Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois and his tireless staff for making this happen.
ADAO continued our advocacy and education for Mesothelioma Awareness and Action month in another big way by writing an educational guest blog post, “What You Should Know This Mesothelioma Awareness Day”, for the Union of Concerned Scientists on what people should know about asbestos exposure and disease.
Mesothelioma Awareness Day is never just about those we have lost — it is also a day to recognize the family and friends who are affected by the killer carcinogen. ADAO understands the pain and suffering you have gone through or go through when someone you know gets sick from an asbestos-caused illness. Therefore, we are proud to share our new personalized fundraising platforms with the community. Now all our supporters have the opportunity to start a memorial page for their loved ones and/or dedicate a special occasion, sporting activity or corporate event to help fund educational, advocacy and community initiatives for preventing asbestos exposure.
This month, the bill’s Subcommittee mark-up, and the flag flown atop the Capitol building are symbols of the power of our collective voice. Though the journey towards ridding our country of asbestos is long, we have come prepared. We’re most inspired by our community’s support and truly believe that together change is possible.