The United States Senate has approved the 15th resolution establishing April 1-7 as National Asbestos Awareness Week. The resolution seeks to “raise public awareness about the prevalence of asbestos-related diseases and the dangers of asbestos exposure.”
Asbestos is a strong, fire-resistant mineral that was mined from the earth and used in a variety of construction, shipbuilding and friction materials. Its use was greatly reduced in the 1980s. By then, it had been known for decades that asbestos exposure could lead to serious diseases including lung cancer and mesothelioma.
Asbestos-related diseases can take up to 50 years to develop. Once symptoms of mesothelioma present, the disease usually proves fatal within 12 to 24 months.
Due to its health risks, asbestos has been banned by more than 60 countries, including Canada. Its use was restricted in the U.S.; however, the Environmental Protection Agency under the Trump administration is allowing for new uses of asbestos, a move criticized by several non-government organizations including the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO).
The annual National Asbestos Awareness Week is a great opportunity to inform the public about the dangers of asbestos exposure, ADAO President and Co-Founder Linda Reinstein said.
“We are enormously thankful to Senator (Jon) Tester and the 12 original cosponsors for introducing the bipartisan 15th National Asbestos Awareness Week. This non-controversial resolution proves that we can make progress when we work together to protect the American people, instead of simply advancing political agendas. Each year, up to 40,000 Americans die from preventable asbestos-caused diseases while imports and use continue,” she said. “ADAO looks forward to the passage of this important annual awareness and prevention resolution and sharing the U.S. Surgeon General’s asbestos warning. Undoubtedly, this week will raise awareness and save lives.”