The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation today applauds Senator Patty Murray for her steadfast leadership on behalf of the mesothelioma patient and research community and offers its endorsement of her legislation, “Ban Asbestos in America Act of 2007.”

Dr. Harvey Pass, Director of the Division of Thoracic Surgery at the NYU School of Medicine in New York and Chairman of the Foundation’s Science Advisory Board, testified before a Senate panel responsible for overseeing workplace safety. Dr. Pass, a leading mesothelioma researcher, explained why asbestos exposure remains a serious threat to the health of Americans, “the mesothelioma victims of today built our country as pipe fitters, insulators, boilermakers, electricians and shipbuilders, among others, and a third of today’s mesothelioma victims served the U.S. on Navy ships or shipyards. Families have been destroyed by second hand fiber exposure when these heroes brought asbestos from their livelihood into their home.” Pass praised the legislation Senator Murray introduced today for placing a high priority on federal funding for mesothelioma research and mandating a collaborative effort be made among the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the Department of Veterans Affairs to find the disease in its early stages so that newer therapies can prolong patients’ lives.

Sue Vento, wife of former Congressman Bruce Vento, also testified at today’s hearing. Vento described the experience her late husband had in his battle with mesothelioma that took his life on October 10, 2000, just ten months after being diagnosed. Vento serves on the Board of Directors of the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation.

Mesothelioma is a malignant tumor that aggressively and painfully invades the lining of the lungs, heart or stomach until it destroys the vital organs. It is caused by exposure to asbestos. Diagnosis is difficult and often delayed. About 3,000 Americans die from mesothelioma each year, and its incidence is expected to rise in the aftermath of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina.

Since 1999, research and advocacy has been championed by the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation. The Foundation has awarded over $4 million in seed money grants to the brightest investigators around the world. The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation is a non-profit organization, devoted to eradicating mesothelioma as a life-ending disease.

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