On January 16th, the United States Senate designated the first week of April 2014 as National Asbestos Awareness Week. As a part of this, the senate urged the Surgeon General to warn and educate people about asbestos exposure and its hazards to health.
This began as National Asbestos Awareness Day but was changed in 2005 to a week-long observance to provide time for more public education about this worldwide problem. The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) was instrumental in promoting this week along with Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT.) Senator Baucus began his fight against the dangers of asbestos by urging the EPA to declare a public health emergency in Libby, Montana – a first for the agency. Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), a co-sponsor of the bill, said, “We must do everything we can to help folks in Libby while raising awareness and preventing a similar tragedy in the future.”
Asbestos affects thousands of people each year. It can show up in the form of lung cancer or mesothelioma up to 50 years after exposure. Those who contract it do so in many ways: exposure through jobs, contact with people who carry the fibers on their clothing, even service in the U.S. Navy. Between 1900 and the mid 1980s, asbestos was used in thousands of products. During the 20th century, more than 30 million tons of asbestos were used in industrial facilities, homes, schools, shipyards, steel mills, power plants, oilfields and commercial buildings in the United States.
If you believe you may be affected through past exposure, it is wise to contact your physician.