On March 30, 2023, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the 18th consecutive resolution designating April 1-7 as Global Asbestos Awareness Week (GAAW). This year’s theme, “Asbestos: One Word. One Week. One World,” highlights the united front in the fight against the availability of asbestos-based products and the deadly diseases they cause.
Sponsored by the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) — the largest independent nonprofit organization in the U.S. dedicated to preventing asbestos exposure — this global initiative has made tremendous progress in asbestos awareness and legislation for nearly two decades.
Founded in 2004 by Linda Reinstein and Doug Larkin, the ADAO strives to prevent asbestos-related diseases through global education, community initiatives, and advocacy for asbestos bans.
To commemorate GAAW 2023, Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR-01) have partnered to reintroduce the Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now (ARBAN) Act, originally introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate in March 2019.
Named in honor of Linda Reinstein’s late husband, who passed away from mesothelioma in 2003, ARBAN proposes to ban the distribution, manufacturing, processing, and usage of asbestos in commercial products.
“We know that asbestos is a grave threat to public health. It’s a known killer,” said Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) in a video posted to his official Twitter account. “But what many people don’t know is that it hasn’t been banned in the United States of America. It’s been banned in more than 60 countries to protect the citizens of those nations, but not here. The longer we drag our feet, the more lives we put at risk…It’s long past time to end this public health threat.”
Congresswoman Bonamici expressed similar sentiments regarding the proposal to ban asbestos nationwide.
“It is unacceptable that the United States continues to allow the importation, manufacture, and distribution of asbestos — a known carcinogen that has killed too many people in our country,” she said. “Workers, families, and communities must be protected against this deadly substance. I am reintroducing the Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act with Senator Merkley to finally ban asbestos and to give some peace of mind to the families that have lost loved ones from asbestos-related diseases.”
Learn more about the goals of GAAW and how you can show support this year.
What Is Global Asbestos Awareness Week?
For the past 19 years, the ADAO has dedicated the first full week of April to educating the public on the dangers of asbestos. Sadly, too many people think asbestos exposure is an issue of the past. However, it continues to wreak havoc on the health and safety of innocent people across the world.
Despite efforts to ban the use of asbestos, this substance still poses a health risk to millions of people. Today, asbestos use is legal in nearly 70% of the world — including in the U.S.
Asbestos exposure is the only known cause of a deadly cancer called mesothelioma and can lead to other asbestos-related illnesses. This deadly mineral was heavily used from the 1930s until the early 1980s, when the general public became aware of its risks.
Throughout Global Asbestos Awareness Week, the ADAO shares important statistics to educate the public about consequences of asbestos use. These statistics debunk many common myths about the carcinogen.
- Asbestos kills an estimated 40,000 Americans each year.
- Asbestos is neither safe nor controlled in any circumstance.
- This fatal mineral can be found in many older structures, including homes, schools, hospitals, and workplaces.
- All types of asbestos can lead to mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis, and other illnesses.
- The U.S. is the only industrialized country in the West that does not have an asbestos ban.
- Approximately 33% of deaths resulting from occupational cancer are caused by occupational asbestos exposure.
- The U.S. used an estimated 260 metric tons of asbestos in 2022.
- About 95% of the asbestos in commercial use in the U.S. is chrysotile asbestos.
How to Participate in Global Asbestos Awareness Week 2023
By participating in Global Asbestos Awareness Week, you can help spread the word about deadly asbestos-related diseases and promote life-saving education.
Working together to advocate for asbestos bans and inform more people about the dangers of this substance can also help promote safety in our communities.
Here are 7 ways you can take part in Global Asbestos Awareness Week:
- Advocate for full asbestos bans in your local area.
- Donate to the ADAO to support the fight against asbestos and asbestos-related illnesses.
- Share facts about asbestos exposure on social media using the hashtag #2023GAAW.
- Share your story to be featured on the ADAO’s website.
- Sign the ADAO’s petition to ban asbestos use.
- Wear blue for asbestos awareness.
- Write a letter to Congress urging your representatives to support a full asbestos ban through the Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now (ARBAN) Act.
This year’s GAAW is focused on:
- Banning mining, manufacturing, and other uses of asbestos across the globe
- Better compliance and enforcement of current asbestos laws/regulations
- Overall asbestos exposure prevention
- Strengthening international relations to protect public health
With the help of sponsors such as Simmons Hanly Conroy, Global Asbestos Awareness Week 2023 aims to reach individuals all around the world.
Global Asbestos Awareness Week can unite individuals and families who have been affected by asbestos-related diseases. You can help support the cause by advocating for change and bringing awareness to the dangers of asbestos use.
Get Help For Asbestos-Related Diseases
The Mesothelioma Hope team understands how asbestos-related diseases devastate families across the globe.
Thankfully, there are many support options and resources available if you or a loved one was exposed to asbestos and developed mesothelioma, lung cancer, or asbestosis.
Speak with one of our Patient Advocates today at (866) 608-8933 to learn more about getting the support your family needs.