Global Asbestos Awareness Week has been postponed this year due to the spread of the coronavirus. But the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization remains committed to informing people about the dangers of this material. Asbestos exposure can lead to illnesses like lung cancer and mesothelioma.
What Is Global Asbestos Awareness Week?
Global Asbestos Awareness Week (GAAW) runs each year from April 1st through April 7th. The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) created GAAW to spread the word about the dangers of asbestos and to help prevent future exposure.
During GAAW, experts in asbestos and asbestos-related diseases such as lung cancer and mesothelioma talk about what changes must occur to reduce exposure and keep people safe.
Victims from around the globe also talk about their experiences, learn from each other, and press governments to ban asbestos.
Asbestos was commonly used for its insulation properties.
The material was used in industries such as:
- Automotive repair
- Insulation work
Asbestos is now known as a dangerous carcinogen that can lead to the development of serious and incurable diseases like mesothelioma.
The 2020 GAAW has been suspended due to the COVID-19 virus that has been rapidly spreading around the world. The virus would have posed a risk to those who have already been affected by mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.
However, there are other ways that advocates can support GAAW and continue to raise awareness about the dangers of asbestos.
Global Asbestos Awareness Week Mission
The mission of GAAW and the ADAO is to prevent asbestos exposure through government action and to increase awareness about the dangers of the material.
The ADAO has been successful in its recent lobbying efforts. The organization notably pushed the U.S. Congress to pass The Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act of 219 (ARBAN).
ARBAN was introduced on March 7th, 2019. The bill enjoyed strong bipartisan support and was voted out of the Committee on Energy and Commerce by a 47-1 margin on November 19th, 2019.
The bill now awaits a vote on the House floor, where most expect it to pass and move to the Senate.
- Allow the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a study on the risks of asbestos in construction built several decades ago.
- Ban the use and import of asbestos and asbestos-containing products within a year of legislative enactment.
- Control the presence of asbestos in consumer products.
- Establish a program to require importers, distributors, and processors to disclose how much asbestos is being used in U.S. commerce.
- Force chlor-alkali plants that use asbestos diaphragms to use new non-asbestos technology.
The ADAO also got significant support for ARBAN outside of Congress.
The Attorneys General (AG) of 18 states support the bill — including the AGs of California, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Virginia.
The AGs also sent a letter to Congress to urge members to support ARBAN. The increasing political support for asbestos legislation is due to the hard work and lobbying efforts of organizations such as ADAO.
Advocating Beyond Global Asbestos Awareness Week
Even though the GAAW conference has been canceled this year, you can continue to help the ADAO’s mission and goals.
You can show support by:
- Advocating for an asbestos ban (by sharing videos, blog posts, and other asbestos-disease prevention tips your own communities)
- Calling your Congressional representative or your local officials and ask them to support laws that ban asbestos
- Working with a mesothelioma lawyer after diagnosis to bring those who harmed you to justice
Asbestos will continue to pose a threat and cause innocent people to die each year until it has been completely banned in the United States.
Thus, the importance of showing your support — whether you’re a victim, loved one, friend, or relative — cannot be understated.