The non-profit Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) dedicated April 1-7 to spreading the word about the dangers of asbestos exposure through a Global Asbestos Awareness Week. This year’s theme is “Hear Asbestos. Think Prevention.”
Why is there a week dedicated to asbestos awareness?
Deaths from asbestos are preventable with a ban on use and widespread education on handling of asbestos already in place. Yet, almost 70% of the world – including the U.S. – still allows its use. This lethal mineral has far-reaching consequences, as diseases from asbestos exposure, such as mesothelioma, may not be diagnosed for 50 years.
By dedicating a week to educate the public about the risks of asbestos and their prevention, people are empowered to speak up when they recognize instances of possible asbestos harm. Harmful situations observed could include contractors tearing down or remodeling pre-1980s buildings – residences and commercial – without testing for asbestos, workplace situations where asbestos was used for insulation from high temperature areas such as boilers and is still in place but damaged, or for do-it-yourself projects in an older home without testing insulation, tiles, or floor mastic. While there is promising research for treatment leading to a cure, mesothelioma remains a terminal disease.
The 2017 ADAO Conference
The ADAO further educates through the ADAO Conference, held this year from April 7 – 9 in Arlington, VA. This group not only educates the public, but congressmen and other politicians who control the ability to ban asbestos and put in stricter regulations on the asbestos already in use. ADAO was instrumental in the 2016 passage of the Lautenberg Act, which strengthened the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and prioritized asbestos as one of ten chemicals to be regulated. This move was anticipated as an action that would finally ban asbestos in the United States. With a new administration and a new head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), passage of a total ban is still unknown.
How to comment on an asbestos ban
If you want to make your voice heard in the quest for a ban, the phone number for the office of Scott Pruitt is 202-564-4700. Leave a respectful and short message about why you believe a ban is necessary.