Posted on June 10, 2015 

ADAO Legislative Update Conference Canva (1)Thank you to all who called in for today’s international legislative conference call! Patients, family members, victims’ organizations, and individuals from the legal, health, and sciences fields in the U.S. and abroad joined us to discuss legislation currently being debated in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate and learn how to make their voices heard. This was ADAO’s first, but not last, attempt to share critical asbestos information with the public via conference call.  ADAO’s hope is to host monthly educational calls led by an asbestos medical and/or scientific expert to help the general population understand what’s happening on an education, advocacy, and community support front.

On June 10’s call, Dr. Richard Lemen, Assistant Surgeon General (ret.), USPHA and ADAO Science Advisory Board Co-Chair, shared his decades of experience in occupational safety and health and answered questions relating to recent legislative activity, challenges in banning asbestos, “doubt propaganda,” and ways for you to take action.

While we briefly touched on the Reducing Exposure to Asbestos Database (READ) Act (S.700 and H.R. 2030) and Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act (S. 357 and H.R. 526), the main focus of the call was TSCA Reform. As Dr. Lemen explained, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976 was originally intended to protect the American public from toxic chemicals in commerce and specified a chemical review system to be implemented by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), but the 40-year-old bill is now outdated and needs significant reform. Unfortunately, the reform bills Congress is discussing are inadequate. They do not even mention asbestos – a known human carcinogen – and do not outline a process for the expeditious review of chemicals such as asbestos. ADAO opposes both the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (S.697) and the TSCA Modernization Act (H.R. 2576) for these reasons. (Click here for more information about ADAO’s Legislative Positions).

As the legislative battles wage on in D.C., it’s hard for all of us at home to know how we can make a difference, and this is what ADAO hoped to address with this open, informative call to the public. Clearly, the presence of unregulated toxic chemicals in our homes, schools, offices, and consumer products affects all of us and we should all be concerned about TSCA Reform, but how do we take action?

As discussed on the call, there are many ways for YOU to take action:

  • Keep up on current legislative events. Educate yourself by reading ADAO’s blogs and eNewsletters.  Meet your ADAO Regional State Legislative Team Coordinators: Ann Samuelson (Western Region), Marilyn Amento (Northeastern Region), and Heather Von St. James (Midwestern Region). Also, watch for an introduction to your state representative.
  • Join us on future Legislative Conference Calls for pertinent information and actionable ideas. ADAO will host informative conference calls each month that are open to the public. More details to come on July’s  conference call. What for the upcoming action alert about the FACT Act and TSCA reform legislation.
  • Connect and Share. Most people don’t realize asbestos hasn’t been banned and imports continue. You can raise awareness and strengthen our ban asbestos message by  liking and sharing ADAO’s blogs, posts, Tweets, and infographics with your social networks. When people learn the horrific facts about asbestos, they, too, are encouraged to get involved.
  • Share Your Story. If you or a loved one has been directly affected by asbestos-related diseases, share your story through our SYS platform. ADAO takes these stories directly to Congress to represent the victims’ voice and shares them at international asbestos conferences to raise awareness.

Thank you for taking an interest in public health – it affects all of you! A very special thank you to Dr. Lemen for sharing his expert insight on today’s call.

For quick links to resources references on the call:

Together, we make change happen.


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