The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, ADAO, was the group that started it all. It began in 2004 when two people, Doug Larkin and Linda Reinstein, who had loved ones suffering from mesothelioma saw a need and worked to find a way to stop this deadly disease. They found it through the ADAO as they began spreading the message about asbestos and mesothelioma.
Today is Mesothelioma Awareness Day, started by ADAO, and a perfect time to look at this amazing organization that makes fighting for past, current, and future victims of asbestos its goal.
Caring for, and watching their family members die, put the founders in contact with others going through the same painful journey – a journey that could be prevented for the generations to come if the mineral at the heart of it all could be banned. Fourteen years later, it is still not banned in the United States, but is in many parts of the world.
This group started slowly but gathered momentum as other victims and their family members learned of its existence. Today, thanks to people from all walks of life: patients, caregivers, and a host of donors and volunteers, the ADAO boasts a network of over 50,000 people who share in this quest to eradicate mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases from the world.
More than a ban
While the ADAO does strive for a ban, their mission goes beyond that with three initiatives: education, advocacy, and community.
The ADAO has gathered a built an extensive library that is shared throughout the globe, along with a website brimming with information about asbestos and what you can do. There are speakers at conferences and events around the world presenting opportunities to interact and share information with others on similar missions. Each year, the ADAO hosts its own conference, the International Asbestos Awareness Conference where the latest information on the status of prevention and treatments is shared. In 2019, the conference will be in Washington, D.C. on April 5-7.
Since 2004, the ADAO has presented 13 staff briefings for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. They’ve created and sponsored a bill, the Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act, that is supported by both the House and the Senate. This bill would require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to finally – and permanently – remove the possibility of all human or environmental asbestos exposure.
Caring for someone suffering from mesothelioma is an isolating experience. Linda Reinstein experienced that as she cared for her husband and knew it was an important part of the ADAO mission to support those with the disease and those caring for them. There are groups throughout social media to provide contacts and support without leaving home, there are campaigns, like “Share Your Story” and “6 Word Quotes” that educate about the dangers of asbestos and unite those living with the aftermath of exposure.
The fight continues
Until asbestos is banned throughout the world and there is no one suffering any longer from this disease, the ADAO will continue to fight to educate, support, and bring the issues of exposure to those in government who can make a difference.