Asbestos Awareness Week

The United States Senate has designated the first week of April as Asbestos Awareness Week. This year will mark the eighth such week since the resolution first passed in 2005. A week designated to public awareness regarding asbestos is one of many attempts to educate Americans about this toxic material. Asbestos is a naturally occurring substance once widely used in a variety of applications and products largely due in part to its ability to withstand extreme temperatures. Despite popular misconception, asbestos has yet to be banned in the United States, albeit it has been regulated since the 1970s and 80s. Inhaling or ingesting asbestos fibers is extremely hazardous to one’s health, as the material is known to cause diseases and cancers such as asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma. A majority of the illnesses and diseases related to asbestos exposure do not currently have a cure. Furthermore, these medical conditions often have extended latency periods, with as many as 20-50 years between the time of initial exposure and the onset of symptoms. Because of these long latency periods, when diagnosis finally occurs the cancer or illness is often in the advanced stages, resulting a poor prognosis. Asbestos Awareness Week will hopefully improve the public’s understanding of just how dangerous this human carcinogen can be, as well as inform Americans about products and construction that are likely to contain asbestos. Officially designated as Senate Resolution 389, appointing April 1-7 “National Asbestos Awareness Week,” is a means of “raising public awareness about the prevalence of asbestos-related diseases and the dangers of asbestos exposure.” Asbestos Awareness Week is being kicked off with a conference hosted by the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, or ADAO. ADAO’s eighth annual international awareness conference: Asbestos: “An International Health Crisis,” will be held March 30-April 1, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The conference will bring together both renowned experts and victims of asbestos exposure in a united forum to increase awareness, education, treatment, and collaboration. The conference includes the partnership of the Environmental Information Association (EIA) and Independent Asbestos Training Providers (IATP). The conference agenda includes a variety of speakers and activities, including private gatherings for patients and their families, a dinner and silent auction, question and answer forums, and a variety of lectures from several doctors and other leaders in the fields of medicine and asbestos education. Several individuals including those who have died from cancers related to asbestos exposure and human rights activists from around the world who have dedicated their time and efforts to educating and advocacy relating to asbestos awareness. Reference: Previous: ADAO's International Asbestos Awareness Conference Next: Study Debates Aggressive Treatments for Patients