This week, our posts have honored Global Asbestos Awareness Week, a project of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization or ADAO. In our introduction to this recognition week, which happens each year during the first week of April, we highlighted ADAO’s Awareness Week goals this year:
- Education and awareness of the dangers of asbestos exposure
- A worldwide ban of asbestos
- Improvement in enforcing existing asbestos-safety laws
The U.S. Senate Resolution
In conjunction with the ADAO’s global focus for the week, the U.S. Senate for the 13th year in a row passed a resolution to raise public awareness by designating the first week in April National Asbestos Awareness Week.
The resolution was sponsored by Sen. Jon Testor, D-Mont., and eight additional co-sponsors: Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oreg., and Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt.
The Libby Tragedy
It is especially noteworthy that both of Montana’s senators – regardless of party affiliation – are sponsors of the resolution, given the tragic asbestos contamination of Libby, Montana, from contaminated mines that operated in the vicinity for decades and the years-long Superfund cleanup administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or EPA. In fact, the Libby community’s struggle with mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases are mentioned in the resolution.
The Surgeon General’s Warning
In addition to designating this week a national asbestos awareness event, the Senate resolution calls on the U.S. Surgeon General to issue an asbestos warning “about the public health issue of asbestos exposure, which may be hazardous to … health.” As of this writing, the Surgeon General’s warning does not appear to have been released for 2017, but it has been released in previous years toward the end of the recognized week, so we await its publication.
Here at Brayton Purcell, we applaud both ADAO and the federal government in raising awareness this week of the dangers of asbestos exposure to human health.