Posted on January 9, 2015

The History of Global Asbestos Awareness Week from April 1 – 7.

Asbestos: One Word. One World. One Week.GAAW One World

The asbestos facts are irrefutable. Asbestos is a known carcinogen and there is no safe level of exposure. Yet, asbestos mining and use continues still.

The World Health Organization states:

  • About 125 million people in the world are exposed to asbestos at the workplace.
  • More than 107,000 people die each year from asbestos-related lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis resulting from occupational exposure.

In 2005, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid offered to champion the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization’s (ADAO) request for the first Asbestos Awareness Day. Our organization was exhilarated, but challenged, as we began to draft the language for the first Resolution. And when the resolution passed unanimously  in the Senate, our celebration could have been heard around the world.

ADAO was still determined to grow asbestos awareness and in 2007, the U.S. Senate listened to our plea for awareness and prevention by extending the day to a week long event. It didn’t take long for this idea to catch fire with the members of our asbestos community, ranging from victims to safety and health professionals, who asked to share our graphics, materials, and the 2011 “Asbestos Kills” video.

This was only the beginning. From the tireless work of this community, Global Asbestos Awareness Week has taken on a life of its own, crossing borders, and spanning across the globe. This week is YOURS to champion, to drive, and to share your passion for asbestos disease awareness and the critical need to ban this poison in every corner of the world.

From One to Seven.

Expanding asbestos and mesothelioma, we had seven days of content and themes designed for each day as seen in examples such as:

In 2012, thanks to Mavis Nye and others, ADAO expanded our collaborative efforts and officially began Global Asbestos Awareness Week (GAAW) from April 1 – 7. This week included the opportunity for Warriors, health and safety organizations, and labor unions to increase awareness for prevention and public policy increased.

The next 2012, 2103, and 2014 Global Asbestos Awareness Weeks brought together contributors such as these five: 

  1. “Hidden Killer Campaign” by Health and Safety Executive
  2. “Take 5 and Stay Alive” by the British Lung Foundation
  3. “Asbestos: What Is It?“ by Dr. Richard Lemen
  4. “Why Is Asbestos Bad for My Health?“ by Dr. Arthur Frank
  5. “Toolkit for the Elimination of Asbestos-Related Diseases (ARDs)” by Dr. Ken Takahashi

You can see the entire content from these three weeks at:

Sharing Makes Us Stronger

This year from April 1 -7, 2015, individuals and organizations from across the globe will come together to share their messages raising asbestos awareness.  This year, the Global Asbestos Awareness Week campaign will feature key influencers, experts, and Partners for Prevention featuring, facts, art, movies, and more from all around the world.

By embracing technology, social networks, and mixed media, we aim to expand our reach worldwide to raise awareness for asbestos-caused diseases. As is tradition, we will end GAAW with a candle lighting vigil online and as Warriors wish, in their own homes. We invite everyone to participate and encourage their communities to join as well.

Save the date and watch for updates from ADAO and your local leaders, about the week, contributors, and content. ADAO will post the full schedule, if you should choose to follow and share updates about other events as we embrace solidarity for GAAW. Please share with us your ideas and posts, we look forward to sharing everyone’s efforts.

We at ADAO know very well that we cannot succeed alone. We are depending on our community to be innovative, be bold, and be outspoken to make the 2015 Global Asbestos Awareness Week the loudest call to action yet!

Together, we make change happen.

Linda Reinstein

ADAO’s Social Networks


U.S  Surgeon General Warning Statements

U.S. Senate Asbestos Resolutions from 2005 – 2014