April 1 kicks off the 15th annual Global Asbestos Awareness Week, a seven-day campaign designed to increase awareness of asbestos and prevent exposure by bringing together experts and victims from around the world to share, learn and take action.
The effort was founded in 2004 by the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), and has grown to a global collaboration thanks to partnerships with international organizations such as the World Health Organization and the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health.
“While promising research continues, prevention remains the only cure,” said ADAO co-founder Linda Reinstein. “When it comes to asbestos and mesothelioma, knowledge truly is power. This week is about delivering that power: we seek to equip people with the tools they need to protect themselves while we work for preventative legislation and a cure.”
Asbestos exposure can cause mesothelioma, a rare but deadly form of cancer that forms in the lining of the lungs, abdomen and chest.
Global Asbestos Awareness Week features daily educational resources from leading organizations including guest blogs, videos and asbestos victims’ stories. It ends on April 7 with an online candlelight vigil. A different public service announcement video will be featured each day of the week showcasing the tragic reality about deadly asbestos.
One day of the week will also be dedicated to ADAO’s newly introduced bill in the U.S. Congress, the Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act of 2019, which would fully ban asbestos in the U.S. within 12 months.
Last March, Sen. Jon Tester of Montana introduced the 2019 National Asbestos Awareness Week resolution along with more than a dozen fellow senators. The resolution passed by unanimous consent.
“With so much support behind the resolution, I am more hopeful than ever that this 116th Congress will finally succeed in passing ban asbestos legislation,” Reinstein said. “They have the opportunity before them now, with the Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act of 2019.”
In December 2018, Canada joined more than 60 other countries around the world in banning asbestos. In the 1980s and 1990s, the United States and Canada fell short of banning asbestos, instead restricting its use. In 2016, after years of pressure from health experts and family members of asbestos victims, Canada agreed to ban the carcinogenic mineral. The U.S., however, has taken a different stand under the Trump administration. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a Significant New Use Rule (SNUR) for evaluating the risk of substances and, as a result, will allow new uses of asbestos on a case-by-case basis.
According to ADAO, nearly 40,000 Americans die each year from asbestos-related diseases.
For more information about asbestos exposure and mesothelioma, contact Sharon Zinns in our Atlanta office.