Did you know that April 1st through 7th marks 2014’s Global Asbestos Awareness Week? While it is usually only a national week of observance in the U.S., the awareness is spreading across many different countries this year. This is not a surprise, seeing as how so many people in the world are affected by asbestos exposure everyday.
In some developing countries, asbestos is being used as a building material in residential and commercial construction projects. Asbestos use was halted in the United States in the 1970s after the Environmental Protection Agency announced that it was a hazard to human health, but it was never fully banned. Although not produced anymore, asbestos materials were used within a significant amount of America’s older buildings and homes that still stand today.
The Americans that worked with asbestos in various trades are paying the price today, as 2,000-3,000 mesothelioma diagnoses are given out each year. Mesothelioma is a cancer caused by asbestos exposure, and it can take years or decades for symptoms to appear. Many countries do not know that they are sealing a deadly fate for their citizens by building homes and buildings with asbestos materials. Global Asbestos Awareness Week helps to spread awareness of the dangers facing workers who handle asbestos in developing countries.
Today, millions of tons of asbestos are mined and exported as a valuable substance. Spreading awareness is just one way to ensure people around the world educate themselves about the deadly side effects that come with exposure.