More than 95,000 signatures will be on a petition delivered to Congress tomorrow, urging the EPA to “Ban Asbestos in the U.S. Now, Without Loopholes or Exemptions.” That delivery is timed for Mesothelioma Awareness Day, an effort to bring attention to mesothelioma, a lung disease caused by exposure to asbestos and the inhalation of asbestos particles.
Legal and lethal
“Each year nearly 40,000 Americans die from asbestos-related diseases, yet imports and use continue,” said Linda Reinstein, President and CEO of Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO). “The EPA has been tip toeing around enacting an asbestos ban in the U.S. even though asbestos is a known carcinogen that is legal and lethal.”
Asbestos has been banned in 55 countries worldwide, but not in China, Russia, India, Canada – or the United States.1
“Asbestos importers and users continue to lobby Congress and allow this man-made disaster to endure,” said Reinstein, who said the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh "could drastically shift the direction of our country as Kavanaugh is staunchly anti-environment.”
Occupational exposure is widespread
Much of the asbestos exposure that causes the disease occurs in workplaces, in occupations ranging from aircraft mechanics to welders, drill press operators and steamfitters. In most cases, mesothelioma symptoms will not appear in an individual exposed to asbestos until many years after the exposure has occurred.
Due to its low cost, superior heat and fire-resistant properties and ease of industrial application, asbestos was used extensively by the military. According to Mesothelioma.com, some 30 percent of U.S. mesothelioma victims are veterans who were exposed while on duty.
Family members of those who experienced occupational exposure of asbestos may have second-hand exposure to the substance.
In addition to its petition activities, ADAO plans to hold an hour-long Twitter Chat in English and Spanish tomorrow at noon ET; look for the hashtag #ENDMeso.
Related story: Should certain applications of asbestos be used again?