Posts Tagged ‘Asbestos Awareness Day’

Asbestos is no joke – Asbestos Awareness Week begins today

1 Apr 2010 by under Events, News, Organizations, People

Traditionally, April 1 has been designated by the Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) as Awareness Day. The day has been officially recognized by U.S. Congress proclamation for the past six years. In recent years, the awareness effort has expanded, and now the first week of April is officially designated as . The theme for the awareness week is “Knowledge is stronger than asbestos.”

On March 26, the ADAO praised the U.S. Senate for passage of the sixth annual resolution establishing National Asbestos Awareness Week. Senate Resolution 427 also urges the Surgeon General to warn and educate Americans about the severe hazards of asbestos exposure.

The ADAO is the largest organization in the United States serving as the voice of asbestos victims, and lobbies for the complete ban of asbestos and asbestos-containing products in the U.S. Asbestos exposure is linked to the development of a number of diseases, including asbestosis, a severe scarring of the lungs; and mesothelioma, a deadly cancer that affects the lining of the lungs and chest, abdomen or the heart. According to statistics compiled by ADAO, in the next decade it is estimated that 100,000 workers around the world will die of an asbestos-related disease. This equals 30 deaths each day.

ADAO co-founder and CEO Linda Reinstein said, “We are grateful to the U.S. Senate for unanimously passing S. Res. 427 that will increase public awareness about asbestos, a known human carcinogen. For the past six years, ADAO has seen that a week of awareness enables agencies, institutions and organizations to promote regulatory compliance and enforcement. Americans deserve and want to know how to prevent asbestos in their homes or in the workplace.”

Asbestos Awareness Week 2010 will be held April 1-7. Visit ADAO online for more information about asbestos and its commercial use; how to prevent exposure in homes, schools and workplaces; early warning symptoms and medical treatment options; and to find out more about why asbestos is still not a banned product in the U.S. and how it is used in common household products.

Registration now open for ADAO Sixth Annual International Asbestos Awareness Conference

2 Dec 2009 by under Events, News, Organizations

adao logo Registration now open for ADAO Sixth Annual International Asbestos Awareness ConferenceThe Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization has announced registration is now open for its Sixth Annual . The conference is scheduled for April 9-11, 2010 in , Ill. This annual event brings together renowned doctors, scientists, researchers and asbestos victims and their families in a united forum for asbestos awareness, education and collaboration. Each year the event coincides with national Asbestos Awareness Day, April 1.

In addition to providing educational information, advocacy support, a special remembrance ceremony and networking opportunities, each year the conference honors individuals or organizations that have demonstrated outstanding work and dedication to asbestos awareness related activities. ADAO has announced this year’s honorees:

  • The Honorable Richard Durbin, United States Senator – Tribute of Hope Award
  • Dr. Hedy Kindler – Selikoff Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Center for Asbestos Related Disease (CARD), Libby, Montana – Tribute of Unity Award
  • Fernanda Giannasi – Tribute of Inspiration Award
  • June Breit (posthumous) – The Alan Reinstein Memorial Award

At the conference, the ADAO also will announce the recipient of the Warren Zevon “Keep Me in Your Heart” Memorial Tribute.

“I’ve received countless requests for my father’s song, ‘Keep Me in Your Heart,’ to be used at memorials for asbestos victims,” said ADAO Spokesperson Jordan Zevon. Jordan is the son of Warren Zevon, acclaimed singer and songwriter, who died of mesothelioma in 2003. “You can imagine how proud it makes me to know that my father’s Grammy winning song has touched so many families, but it is bittersweet because of the nature of those requests. In his honor, I will continue to work with ADAO to ban asbestos to spare future generations from the same fate.”

“As we get closer to a full asbestos ban, we are encouraged, yet simultaneously reminded that the reverberations of asbestos exposure can last decades,” said Linda Reinstein, Co-Founder and Executive Director of ADAO. “Our annual conferences drive home the importance of the need for increased awareness, education and research.”

Additional conference details are available on the ADAO web site, and online registration is available at

The International Asbestos Awareness Conference is made possible with the support and collaborative efforts of the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute and the International Ban Asbestos Secretariat (IBAS).

ADAO founder draws from personal loss to fight asbestos disease, raise awareness

20 Oct 2009 by under Events, News, Organizations, People

Reinsteins 100x100 ADAO founder draws from personal loss to fight asbestos disease, raise awareness“For every life lost to asbestos, a shattered family is left behind.” This is the motto and the message of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) co-founder Linda Reinstein. Linda, who now serves as ADAO’s executive director, became an activist on behalf of the victims of asbestos disease in 2003, when her husband Alan was diagnosed with mesothelioma. He passed away in May 2006.

The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, which Linda established in 2004 along with co-founder Doug Larkin,  is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving as the voice for all asbestos victims. Its mission includes education, outreach, networking for asbestos victims, and especially working to accomplish a complete ban of asbestos in the United States. ADAO has gotten a U.S. Senate resolution to officially declare April 1 as Asbestos Awareness Day, and hosts an annual Asbestos Awareness Day Conference to increase awareness and help prevent future exposure.

This year, the Acting Surgeon General supported National , the first week of April, and issued a statement about the deadly health hazard posed by asbestos.

Since co-founding ADAO, Linda has globally united countless individuals and families who have been affected by asbestos related diseases, including mesothelioma and asbestosis. She also has worked to produce awareness materials including a slide show called “Asbestos Kills,” and other educational materials including an internationally distributed online book, “Reflections,” which features articles from renowned global experts.

Last week, the ADAO launched a new resource center page on its web site, and issued a call to action for those of us in the mesothelioma community to push for a complete ban on asbestos in the United States by contacting our Congressional representatives.

There is an easy way to do it – just visit and click on the link that says “Write Your Congressman,” which is on the home page. This will take you to a form you can fill out, and it will automatically send the message to your Congressional delegates. Remember, YOU shoud be THEIR voice on Capitol Hill!

“I need them to feel our pain,” Reinstein said. “Asbestos victims – patients, families, caregivers –  are turning their anger to action, across the nation, working for the difference we can make, together.”

Pictured above, Linda Reinstein with her and Alan’s daughter Emily. The flag is in recognition of Alan’s military service to his country.

Senate establishes fifth annual National Asbestos Awareness Week

3 Mar 2009 by under Events, News, Organizations

The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization announced that the United States Senate has officially introduced a resolution declaring the first week of April as National Asbestos Awareness Week. This is the fifth year the event has been officially recognized by Senate Resolution. S.RES.57 also urges the Surgeon General to warn and educate Americans about the severe hazards of asbestos exposure.

The resolution was introduced by (D-MT). Co-sponsors and key supporters are Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA), Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), and Sen. John Tester (D-MT).

In a news release, Linda Reinstein, Executive Director and co-founder of ADAO said, “Since 2005, ADAO has worked with the Senate to raise awareness through the passage of asbestos awareness resolutions. We continue to honor individuals and their families who have suffered from diseases caused by asbestos exposure through our efforts to increase awareness and prevention. ADAO will continue to work with Congress to educate Americans until we finally ban the deadly fibers once and for all.”

In recognition of Asbestos Awareness Day, the ADAO will hold its fifth annual Asbestos Awareness Conference March 27-29 in Manhattan Beach, Calif.

Read SR 57.

The mental toll of mesothelioma

14 Apr 2008 by under Research/Treatment

The physical result of mesothelioma and asbestos disease are often all-too evident. People wracked with pain, coughing, unable to catch their breath. But what about the mental toll of this disease?

Perhaps one of the most interesting presentations at the recent in Detroit, at least to me, was that of Rebecca J. W. Cline, PhD, a senior scientist in Communication and Behavioral Oncology for the Karmanos Cancer Institute and Associate Professor of Family Medicine at Wayne State University.

Dr. Cline recently conducted a community-based focus group investigation in Libby, Montana, on psychosocial issues related to vermiculite/asbestos exposure. She also is currently leading a related population-based survey investigating that community.

She describes asbestos related disease as a “slow-motion technological disaster,” in which community and social responses have a great deal to do with how people fare, mentally and socially.

The basic definition of a technological disaster is a “catastrophic event caused by humans that results in the toxic contamination of the environment.” This includes asbestos contamination, as in Libby, resulting from decades of vermiculite mining, hence “slow moving,” as well as things like oil spills, which can devastate an area fairly quickly.

Libby is the epicenter of what Dr. Cline calls “the worst environmental disaster in the United States,” with multiple generations affected. She examined in particular how stigma associated with asbestos disease can have an impact on what people do.

Dr. Cline said there are two possible responses to technological disaster – the emergence of an altruistic community, or a community in conflict. The latter, she said, is common where there is human culpability, and it was the result in Libby.

The Libby study, conducted in 2006, included focus groups and some individual interviews with adults who lived and worked in the Libby area for at least the past five years. Interview subjects included people with connections to the mine, people with no connections to the mine, people affected by asbestos disease personally, people with family affected by the disease, and people with no disease in family or person.

She found that people fell into three categories – early believers, those who immediately understood the connection of vermiculite to what was happening to the town; late believers, those who initially resisted the idea that the mine made people sick; and those in denial or conflicted, who still did not or would not believe the mine was responsible.

Dr. Cline found that there was a great deal of stigma attached to asbestos-related disease, which created a barrier to social support. People with mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases were often afraid to talk about it, she said, even to close friends.

She said that the stigma came from a variety of sources. Conflicts included concerns about the economic disaster that the loss of the mine signified for the town, for which it was the main industry and source of jobs and security. People feared that if the mine were blamed for illness and deaths in the community there would be a decline in property values, loss of jobs, and a lost way of life.

As a part or a result of that, conflict also grew from a concern about what was the truth. There was a suspicion among neighbors that people claiming illnesses were phony, money-grubbing, greedy or opportunistic, making up illnesses to get a part of a financial settlement from the mining company.

People suffering from asbestos disease personally or within their family were afraid to talk about it out of fear that they would be ostracized and shunned by their neighbors and their community.

Dr. Cline told the story of two women, best friends for years, who bumped into each other in the Center for Asbestos Related Disease, which had been established in Libby to test, diagnose and treat patients. “What are you doing here?” one whispered. “I have the asbestos,” the other whispered back. “Me too,” came the whispered response. Best friends, but afraid at the core to admit to having asbestos disease.

On top of this, people who are ill or whose family members are ill fear the health and medical disaster itself, which was already upon them. They said they felt a lack of hope for survival, not just for themselves or their immediate family, but for generations.

Some of those in denial, or conflicted, still refuse to be tested for asbestos disease. They don’t want to know, Dr. Cline says, or they do not believe the mine could harm them.

There appears to be one universal in Libby.

“Across the groups, people felt like the community as a whole had been stigmatized, that everyone ‘knew about Libby’ and it had been given a bad reputation,” Dr. Cline said.

In addition to the physical toll, the mental toll of asbestos disease in Libby has been incalculable, she said.

South Africa is ‘Libby x 40’

10 Apr 2008 by under News

In international news this week was the support of a ban on asbestos and all asbestos products in South Africa. reported, in a story compiled by the South African Press Association, that trade union Solidarity expressed its support for the ban, and called on the government to also amend its asbestos dumping requirements or find alternative options.

The union also said that South Africa “could have followed the example of the rest of the western world and enforced this prohibition years ago,” according to the news story.

A related story published by TransWorldNews on Monday, April 7, stated that “in newly published documents by the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism [in South Africa], specific regulations have been introduced upon the use, manufacturing, import, and export of asbestos and asbestos containing materials.”

The report says that while some asbestos containing products, such as existing concrete shingles and ceilings, will not be immediately eradicated, the regulations call for the “phasing out” of such materials.

While the move toward this asbestos ban in South Africa is a positive step, it may be too little too late, according to Robert Jones, an environmental researcher with Rhodes University, who recently completed a study of several areas closest to now-closed asbestos mining sites in South Africa. Jones was a speaker at the recent Asbestos Day Conference in Detroit, Mich.

“South Africa is blessed with mineral resources – gold, diamonds, platinum,” he said. “And also cursed with mineral resources – asbestos.”

Between 1893-2001, South Africa mined all three types of commercial asbestos and was among the world’s leaders in asbestos mining and use.

Jones surveyed several communities within 2-5 km of the country’s largest asbestos mining sites, encompassing an area of approximately 7,000 square kilometers at each site. Assessment teams were made up of local people in the affected communities, and they targeted areas most suspect for contamination. Teams physically sampled soil and building materials from the locations.

While acknowledging that samples all came from high-risk areas where contamination was expected, the results were still staggering.

75-85% of homes surveyed are contaminated.

47-59% of schools are contaminated

53% of roads are contaminated

In many cases, the soil is blue with visible asbestos dust and clumps of asbestos fibers and minerals. Sports fields and schools are built on contaminated ground, and people build homes with mud bricks made from asbestos-contaminated soil. Some of the population has 24/7 exposure to contaminated soil. The ground is dry, and homeowners sweep bare ground into clouds of dust.

Jones likens the potential future of some of these areas of South Africa to “ (Montana) times forty.”

Excellent story on asbestos cost, impact

3 Apr 2008 by under News

The Ann Arbor Business Review has an excellent article today about the costs – both financial and the cost in human lives – of disease.

The article starts from the viewpoint of economics, exploring the rising costs of asbestos insurance claims, but goes on to talk with several people who were featured speakers at the recent , held in Detroit, touching on the human issue and the projected cost in human life.

There is some valuable statistical information in this article.

Take a look – it’s worth reading!

It’s a real shame that the issue of asbestos awareness doesn’t seem to be getting much attention in the media outside of Michigan, where the conference was held. I’d like to see some national news outlets pick up on this!

Canada blocks asbestos ban

3 Apr 2008 by under Events, News, Video

A video produced by “” reports on a recent development that shocked many people, when Canada refused to ban asbestos as part of a national toxic trade treaty (The Rotterdam Convention).The treaty creates a list of harmful chemicals that companies cannot export without “informed consent” from the receiving country. Chrysotile asbestos was on the list of items to be included as banned as toxic substances. Canada (along with 5 other countries) blocked the inclusion of Chrysotile asbestos. Chrysotile is one of the three main kinds of asbestos mined.Canada has traditionally been one of the largest exporters of asbestos (mainly to third-world countries, like India).At the recent , I leanred there is a huge argument in the asbestos industry, where they are trying to say that Chrysotile asbestos isn’t “as dangerous” or dangerous at all, because its shape is different than the other two main forms of mined asbestos, amosite and crocidolite.This video says that Canada’s refusal to ban asbestos is tied to its concern that by acknowledging asbestos’ danger, the government will be responsible for the hundreds of thousands of people in Canada that are now sick with asbestos disease (not to mention people unemployed by mine closures), which is a huge number in areas where these asbestos mines were located, and in the industrial areas where asbestos coated equipment, such as in electrical / power generating plants.This video features Barry Castleman, who spoke at the conference, who is an independent consultant in toxic substances control and author of several books, including most recently, Asbestos: Medical and Legal Aspects.The discussion of what’s going on in Canada was a big part of the conference.This is a great piece.


Karmanos tackles looming asbestos epidemic

2 Apr 2008 by under Events, Organizations, People

kci logo top.thumbnail Karmanos tackles looming asbestos epidemicAs I mentioned earlier this week, I spent the past weekend in Detroit, Michigan, at the 4th Annual Asbestos Awareness Day Conference, presented by the Awareness Organization (ADAO).

The conference was held at the Barbara Ann , which is the location of the National Center for Vermiculite and Asbestos-Related Cancers, co-directed by Dr. Michael Harbut and Dr. John Ruckdeschel, both of whom spoke at the ADAO conference.

While it might seem obvious, Dr. Harbut said, a key to diagnosing and treating asbestos disease is an emphasis on a medical approach.

Dr. Harbut explained that the Karmanos program “approaches asbestos disease from a purely medical standpoint, which includes taking into account any risk factors, employing state-of-the-art scanning equipment and a multidisciplinary, research-driven approach to early detection and treatment. This includes consideration of non-mailgnant or sub-clinical asbestos disease.

“Diseases that are ‘not hurting you yet,’” he said.

Focus areas at the National Center for Vermiculite and Asbestos-Related Cancers include the establishment of a schema for high resolution CT (HRCT) classification, measurement of pleural plaque volume, examination of psycho-social aspects of asbestos disease, testing new treatments including osteopontin and SMRP, and compiling a comprehensive database of disease, diagnosis and treatment.

The Center encourages anyone at risk from asbestos exposure to seek testing for early detection.

Dr. Ruckdeschel said barriers to successful asbestos disease treatment include a sense of nihilism in the medical community, the idea of giving up on the patient when mesothelioma is diagnosed due to its traditionally high mortality rate. There is a sense of providing only “quick fix” supportive care, he said.

Other challenges include a lack of treatment centers with a documented track record, lack of large standardized treatment trials, and a paucity of research investment, Dr. Ruckdeschel said.

The Center predicts an epidemic of vermiculite and asbestos-related cancers in the near future, as the latency period of asbestos disease exposure is reached, and as asbestos exposure spreads around the world, particularly in third-world countries.

“One life lost to asbestos disease is tragic. Hundreds of thousands of lives lost is unconscionable,” Dr. Ruckdeschel said.

For more information, visit the Karmanos Cancer Institute online or call 1-800-KARMANOS.

Meso breaks another heart

1 Apr 2008 by under People

More than facts and figures, statistics and news reports, the personal stories of people affected by Mesothelioma can do more to raise awareness of this devastating disease than anything else.

Today, on , I came across this blog post written by a student at State, about the death of a beloved uncle. He died just a little over eight months after being diagnosed with mesothelioma. He was only 58 years old.

Take a moment to read this story, and heed the author’s plea to spread the word about the dangers of asbestos – Benjamin’s Musings.