ADAO’s International Asbestos Awareness Conference

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was once widely used in a variety of products and applications. Professions likely to incorporate asbestos in their manufacturing and construction were the ship building industry, power and chemical plants, all types of construction sites including private and public buildings and homes, and the automotive industry. Asbestos was once considered a “miracle mineral” because of the substance’s tensile strength and ability to withstand extreme temperatures. In the United States, asbestos use was not regulated until the late 1970s and 80s, and despite public misconception, has yet to be banned completely. Homes and buildings built prior to the 1980s may still contain asbestos, and some products still contain this hazardous substance as well. All over the world, over a hundred thousand people die each year after being exposed to asbestos. As asbestos is not yet banned in the United States, as well as some other countries, the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, or ADAO, has titled their 2012 spring conference “Asbestos: An International Public Health Crisis.” This will be the ADAO's eighth International Asbestos Awareness Conference that occurs annually, bringing together experts from around the world who are concerned with the associated risks of exposure to asbestos. Their conferences regularly include well known scientists, doctors, researchers and public health experts, as well as asbestos victims and their loved ones and caregivers. The ADAO was founded in 2004 with the intent of educating and advocating for asbestos victims, as well as building a community of those concerned with asbestos issues. Originally founded by friends and family members of asbestos victims, today the organization operates on an international level and has expanded to include health and science experts as well. This year's event will take place in Los Angeles from March 30 to April 1. One of the main components of this year’s conference is the keynote speech to be given by famous Australian journalist Matt Peacock. Working with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Peacock has been at the forefront of asbestos awareness media coverage for more than three decades. His latest project, a half hour movie entitled “India: the Toxic Trade”, documents and brings to light the use of this toxin throughout India and the permanent and continuing damage it has done. Along with Peacock's television work, he has also written a book about asbestos in Australia. The book specifically follows the story of James Hardie, the largest manufacturer of asbestos in Australian history, and is even being made into a TV series entitled “Devil's Dust”. Attendees of the conference are already excited to have a high profile asbestos awareness advocate like Peacock speaking at the event. The founder and current CEO of ADAO, Linda Reinstein, called it an honor to have Peacock as a guest and heralded his undying commitment to creating an asbestos free world. One of the ADAO's central missions is to secure a universal ban on the use of asbestos. Awareness and education are key in creating a safer world when it comes to this globally present toxin that continues to take so many lives each year. Illnesses and diseases linked to asbestos exposure include asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma; the latter, is a cancer that develops in the lining of the lungs, heart, or abdomen. Mesothelioma is a terminal cancer with typically low two and five-year survival rates. This year's conference is intended to bring together the best minds and current information in order to make great leaps forward for asbestos awareness around the world. By bringing together the people who encounter and have to deal with asbestos and asbestos disease in hospitals, work places, research labs and families hope remains for a universal ban. Reference: Previous: Eternit Asbestos Conviction Update Next: Asbestos Awareness Week