The Center for Disease Control- CDC- is charged with protection of public health and safety through the control and prevention of disease. As noted on the CDC website www.cdc.gov asbestos victims are still threatened by mesothelioma and other issues caused by asbestos exposure. According to data, an estimated 1.3 million construction and general manufacturing workers are potentially being exposed to asbestos. Approximately 1,700 metric tons a year of asbestos is still used in the U.S. in a wide variety of construction and manufacturing applications.
OSHA has tried to enforce limits of what is legal in the work place. OSHA has also taken the position that no level of exposure is safe. In 1989, the Environmental Protection Agency attempted to ban asbestos but were unsuccessful because of court challenges.
Each time we have the privilege of meeting new mesothelioma patients it reminds us that mesothelioma is not going away. We have seen patients as young as 18 and as old as 90. These patients are not statistics — they are all unique individuals with their own story to tell. For most the asbestos exposure happened years ago. The period from exposure to symptoms can be 20 to 40 years.
How do we raise awareness about the use and banning of asbestos in the United States? There is one organization that is dedicated to banning asbestos, Asbestos Disease and Awareness Organization- ADAO. Linda Reinstein and Alan Larkin founded this organization in 2004 after the death of Linda’s husband, around the same time a close relative of Alan’s also died from mesothelioma. For the 13th year ADAO is hosting a conference in Washington D.C. from April 7th to 9th at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel.
Getting involved in prevention and research for a cure is a positive way to honor all those effected by mesothelioma. Raising awareness amongst others and our government leaders that asbestos needs to be banned, educating all of us to the dangers of asbestos, can serve to honor all that have died and all that are suffering with asbestos related diseases.