National Asbestos Awareness Week

While the mainstream corporate news media continues to keep Americans entertained with stories of celebrity antics, all-time record highs on the stock market and ferrets playing the harmonica, many stories about government policy, legislation and behavior, all of which have significant impact on the lives of the American people, often go unreported. A case in point was National Asbestos Awareness Week. In March of 2007, the U.S. Senate voted unanimously to pass SR 131, designating the first week of April as “National Asbestos Awareness Week,” in order to promote increased education on the subject of the deadly substance that has touched virtually everyone in the U.S. on some level. Despite the significance of the legislation however, it was virtually ignored by the media. The main supporters of the bill were Senators Max Baucus (D-MT), John Cornyn (R-TX), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Edward Kennedy (D-MA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Patty Murray (D-WA) and Harry Reid (D-NV).

The significance of National Asbestos Awareness Week was to bring national attention to the many tragic aspects of asbestos use in the country and the continuing problems posed by the use of asbestos in consumer products, leftover asbestos in old buildings and on abandoned properties, and the many different ways in which asbestos destroys human health. Mesothelioma has gotten most of the attention as far as asbestos diseases are concerned; however, other types of cancers including carcinomas of the lung, gastro-intestinal, larynx and kidney and asbestosis are far more common and just as deadly. Linda Reinstein, Executive Director of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), commended the U.S. Senate for the resolution “that urges the U.S. Surgeon General to warn and educate people that asbestos exposure may be hazardous to their health.” The ADAO is a non-profit organization founded by victims of asbestos diseases and their families in 2004. Based in Redondo Beach, California, ADAO advocates for legislation on behalf of asbestos victims and works to raise public awareness of asbestos dangers. ADAO holds an annual Conference and Remembrance Service each spring at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.