Posts Tagged ‘Patty Murray’

Meso Day resolution passes in Senate, pending in House

2 Oct 2009 by under Events, Legal, News, People

The has issued a news release announcing the resolution introduced last week in the U.S. Senate by Sen. Patty Murray to designate September 26 as National Mesothelioma Awareness Day has passed! The resolution introduced simultaneously in the House of Representatives by Rep. Betty McCollum, designated as H.Res. 771, is still pending.

The Meso Foundation is urging the mesothelioma community to contact their House Representative to urge him or her to co-sponsor the bill. Representative McCollum still needs 13 more co-sponsors to complete the passage of National Mesothelioma Awareness Day in both the House and the Senate.

The news release quotes Chris Hahn, Executive Director of the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, “Thanks to the concern of Sen. Murray and Congresswoman McCollum, and their introduction of the federal ‘National Mesothelioma Awareness Day’ resolution, we that mesothelioma will finally become part of a broad national conversation about its tragic impact in our society and the critical need to fund reserch to develop treatments and, ultimately, find a cure for mesothelioma.”

Your help is urgently needed to encourage House Representatives to co-sponsor this resolution. Visit the Meso Foundation’s “Action Center” at www.curemeso.org/action to send an email to your congressional representative.


Why is EPA proposing relaxed asbestos rules?

6 Aug 2008 by under News, Organizations

The (EPA) Science Advisory Board (SAB) Committee held public meetings July 21 and 22 in Washington, D.C., to discuss changes in the way it measures the risk posed by inhalation exposure to . Results of this meeting are coming under fire, as environmental groups, labor safety leaders, physicians, scientists and politicians object to the EPA’s proposed revised evaluation standards.

According to recent report in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, there were 20 experts appointed to the SAB’s asbestos panel, charged with evaluating the validity of the EPA’s plan to change how the toxicity of the six types of asbestos regulated by the government differ in danger. Its findings would be submitted to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

According to the PI report, scientific advisors say the EPA used the asbestos panel to submit new studies that contradict longstanding research into the dangers of asbestos. The new studies say chrysolite, in particular, the most common type of asbestos, isn’t dangerous and doesn’t cause mesothelioma.

PI quotes Dr. David Egilman, an occupational medicine specialist, who testified at the public meeting, as saying the new study was financed by mining and other asbestos-related industries, and said the studies have no scientific credibility.

Another vocal spokesperson at the hearing was Sen. Patty Murray, who sponsored S. 742, the Ban Asbestos in America Act of 2007, which passed the Senate on Oct. 4, 2007. Currently, it is the companion bill to H.R. 3339, the Bruce Vento Ban Asbestos and Prevent Mesothelioma Act, sponsored by Rep. Betty McCollum, which currently is in committee in the House of Representatives.

Sen. Murray has long been an advocate for a total asbestos ban, calling for better worker protection. The PI quotes Sen. Murray as telling the committee, “I’d like the political appointees at the EPA to look into the eyes of a mesothelioma patient and say that asbestos isn’t dangerous. It appears that this administration is once again putting politics before public health.” Murray is currently chairwoman of the Senate Employment and Workplace Safety Subcommittee.

The EPA asserts the new system is needed to improve how asbestos-contaminated Superfund sites are evaluated. The organization can move forward with its proposal without approval from the OMB or the SAB, if it so chooses.


MARF announces Mesothelioma Symposium

29 May 2008 by under Events, Organizations

The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation () will hold its International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma 2008 in Washington, D.C., June 26-28. The annual event highlights the latest advances in research and treatment for patients and caregivers, offers psychosocial support to them as well as those who have lost someone to the disease, and provides significant advocacy and volunteer opportunities for those who are intent on eradicating mesothelioma.

According to Rob Grayson, director of marketing for the Meso Foundation, the event actually started as a purely scientific event, geared toward researchers and scientists, with technical presentations. However, at the time, there were no informational or educational events like it, and they found that patients, families and caregivers wanted to attend.

“Initially, these people would come and sit in on these high-level presentations by scientists, with very technical presentations. We saw the interest and our meeting has now evolved into more of a patient meeting, the scientists speak in more layman’s terms, and we’ve added programs to reach out to people who are also interested in the community of support and the activism that takes place,” Grayson said.

The advocacy element is a new piece of the symposium, added last year when the meeting coincided with debate in the Senate on the Ban Asbestos in America Act, S. 742, sponsored by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA).

“The day we lobbied, they took an administrative vote, and it passed in the Senate. So we’re going back to Washington this year,” Grayson said.

Advocacy efforts this year will include a rallying cry to the House of Representatives to move quickly to pass the legislation in the House, which bans asbestos and provides research funding for mesothelioma. Last week, the Foundation issued an action alert in support of The Bruce Vento Ban and Prevent Act of 2007 (H.R. 3339), the companion to the Senate bill. The bill includes $10 million for mesothelioma research.

“Normally we’d hold the Symposium in a different city each year, but it’s almost the same timing as last year, with the bill pending, this time in the House, so we’re back to Washington,” Grayson explained.

Those attending the Symposium can register to participate in the advocacy efforts, and the Meso Foundation will arrange for them to meet personally with their congressional delegate, and will provide a training session to help advocates prepare for the meeting.

In addition to lobbying for passage of the House bill, Symposium advocates will request that the Senate’s Defense Appropriations Subcommittee maintain, for the second year, mesothelioma’s eligibility to compete for medical research funding from the Department of Defense. In 2007, the DoD appropriated $50 million and included mesothelioma as a research priority for its Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program, effective in the 2008 budget. The Meso Foundation is working for continuing and increasing funds for research in the 2009 defense appropriations bill.

“There currently is no ban on asbestos, so companies can use it however they see fit. We’ve pretty much stopped mining here, but asbestos is still used in about 3,000 products that you could go out and buy right now. Even if we banned asbestos tomorrow, it probably won’t change the rate of sickness for the next 50 years, due to the latency period of asbestos. That’s why the funding for research is so important,” Grayson says. “Advocacy and the call for a ban on asbestos raises awareness, and raises money for research, which is what we need to deal with the illness itself,” he said.

In addition to advocacy, the Symposium again will feature an educational program, with sessions covering topics including Peritoneal Mesothelioma, Pleural Meso Surgical Options, Emerging Therapies, Optimizing Patient Care, and Scientific Advances in Meso Research. Other educational programs will provide instruction on outreach topics including volunteerism, fundraising, peer support and advocacy, to help those who want to make a difference learn how to be most effective.

A Gala Dinner will honor those people living with meso, and recognize outstanding volunteers and advocates for their hard work and dedication to raising awareness. The dinner will feature a unique guest speaker – Seventh grader Lexi Miletto, the granddaughter of Joseph Miletto, who died in 2005 of peritoneal mesothelioma.

Scholarships for Symposium registration fees, as well as for transportation and accommodations, are still available for patients, family members and caregivers who would like to attend. Contact the Meso Foundation at www.curemeso.org or call 805-563-8400 for details.

The Mesothelioma Foundation was started in 1999, by attorney Roger Worthington. Unfortunately, Grayson says, there was an initial stigma because of his association, with people suspicious the Foundation was attempting to gather clients for his firm, so he removed himself from the Board of Directors and the Foundation was re-established as a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization. Today, with 8 staff members, the organization raises $2.5 million annually and funds more than $1 million in research projects.

“Currently, most of our funding goes to seed money to help researchers who have good ideas for treatment to validate their work, and take it to the NIH to get additional funding for the next step of the research,” Grayson explained. “We hope very soon that we’ll be able to fund clinical trials.”


Action alert for Ban Asbestos and Prevent Mesothelioma Act

20 May 2008 by under Events, Legal

The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (Meso Foundation) has issued an “action alert” urging its constituents to call on their House Representative this week to support prompt passage of The Bruce Vento Ban Asbestos and Prevent Mesothelioma Act of 2007 (H.R. 3339), sponsored by Rep. (D-MN).

In October 2007, the Senate companion bill, sponsored by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), passed. The House bill toughened the legislation, under the direction of the Environment and Hazardous Material Subcommittee of the House’s Energy and Commerce Committee, eliminating an exception for asbestos present at 1 percent or less by weight, making the ban a matter of federal statute rather than EPA regulation, and adding enforcement provisions.

The Meso Foundation reports the critically needed medical research funding provisions from Sen. Murray’s and Congresswoman McCollum’s legislation have not yet been added to the Committee Print.

In a statement released yesterday in support of including the research funding, the Meso Foundation said, “for the sake of all those already exposed, those now sick, and those who will be exposed in the future to asbestos already in place, we call on the Health Subcommittee to follow Sen. Murray and Congresswoman McCollum in recognizing the necessity of a robust asbestos disease research program, and to adopt the research funding provisions included in their legislation.”

Read the full story about this important legislation at Yahoo! News.

Supporters are urged to contact their Representative in Washington, DC, to urge inclusion of the research funding and swift passage of the complete bill once the funding is in place.

In Alabama, House Representatives are Robert Aderholt (4th Congressional District), Jo Bonner (1st), Mike Rogers (3rd), Spencer Bachus (6th), Robert E. “Bud” Cramer (5th) and Terry Everett (2nd). If you are not sure which is your congressional district, to locate contact information for your representative or to locate the representative for your state, visit the United States House of Representatives online, and click on your state for a list of your representatives.

Please contact your Representative NOW to let them know you support this legislation and to ask for their support. Please email me if you’d like any help!


DoD appropriations bill has meso funding request

7 May 2008 by under Events, News, Research/Treatment

In March, I posted that for the first time the Department of Defense (DoD) had appropriated funding for mesothelioma research as a priority within the department’s Medical Research Program, thanks in most part to the lobbying efforts of the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (MARF, Meso Foundation). Today, TheHill.com reports that MARF, with the backing of more than a dozen senators, is pushing for continuing and increasing funds for mesothelioma research in the 2009 defense appropriations bill.

In the 2008 defense appropriations bill, Congress designated $50 million for the mesothelioma research as part of the Pentagon’s peer-reviewed program.

TheHill.com points out that supporters of the initiative for continued funding in the 2009 bill argue that “at least one third of the people suffering from mesothelioma … have either been in the Navy or worked in Navy shipyards across the country” where they were exposed to asbestos. Much of the exposure in the Navy cases, the report states, happened between World War II and the Vietnam War, when asbestos was used in shipyards and ships. For that reason, supporters push for federal funding for research.

TheHill.com writer Roxana Tiron reports that last month several senators sent a letter to the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Defense panel in support of the continued funding. The letter stated, in part, “Funding through the appropriations bill is an important demonstration of our nation’s commitment to addressing the tragedy of mesothelioma and its disproportionate impact on those who serve our country.”

Among the bill’s supporters are Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), who have been leading the charge to ban asbestos and secure more funding for mesothelioma research. The Ban Asbestos bill, introduced by Murray and passed in the Senate last October, includes $10 million per year in funding for cancer research. The companion bill in the House has not yet been passed.

Also among the supporters for the 2009 appropriations funding for meso are Sens. (D-Vt.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and John Ensign (R-Nev.).

The Meso Foundation funds approximately $1 million a year for research worldwide. The organization will hold its annual three-day symposium in Washington, D.C., starting on June 26, expecting more than 100 grassroots supporters to meet with their congressional representatives. For more information about this event, visit MARF online.


Asbestos Hearing set for Feb. 28

25 Feb 2008 by under Events, News, Organizations

The U.S. will hold a hearing on Feb. 28, 2008, to discuss . In the next decade, it is estimated that 100,000 people – 30 per day – will lose their lives as a result of asbestos exposure.What can you do?

  1. Sign the petition. The ADAO (Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization) has created a petition asking Congress to totally ban asbestos in industrial materials, consumer products and toys. Visit this website to add your name to this petition: http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/totally-ban-asbestos.html
  2. Contact your Representative. Visit http://www.house.gov/ to find your Representative and write him or her to ask for careful consideration of this issue in the hearing, and in support of the Ban Asbestos in America Act of 2007.

On March 1, 2007, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced S. 742: Ban Asbestos in America Act of 2007 to the 110th Congress. This is an act to amend the Toxic Substances Control Act to reduce the health risks posed by asbestos-containing materials and products having asbestos-containing material, and for other purposes. The bill is an effort to ban all production and use of asbestos in America, launch public education campaigns to raise awareness about its dangers and expand research and treatment of diseases cause by asbestos.The bill passed in the Senate on Oct. 4, 2007 by Unanimous Consent. A record of each representative’s position was not kept.The bill now goes on to be voted on in the House.


Mesothelioma and Asbestos

22 Feb 2008 by under

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