Press Releases

Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today applauded passage of a bipartisan resolution to designate the first week of April as “National Asbestos Awareness Week”.

The resolution is  co-sponsored by Feinstein as well as, Senators Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), and Kristen Gilibrand (D-N.Y.).

Asbestos is a known human carcinogen and exposure can cause mesothelioma, lung, gastrointestinal, laryngeal and ovarian cancers, as well as non-malignant lung and pleural disorders. Thousands of people in the United States die from asbestos-related diseases every year. U.S. workers continue to face significant asbestos exposure, which has been a cause of occupational cancer. Hundreds of 9/11 first responders were exposed to toxic fumes after the collapse of the Word Trade Center, which was constructed with hundreds of tons of asbestos.

"On behalf of ADAO, I would like to thank Senator Markey and Co-Sponsors for their support of Resolution 125, and the full Senate for its passage,” said Linda Reinstein, President and Co-Founder of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization. “We are extremely pleased to have such strong bipartisan backing of this critical resolution once again so that we can continue our concerted efforts to educate the public on the dangers of asbestos and build a legacy of hope for victims of asbestos each year. Most Americans can’t identify asbestos or manage the risk during associated during repairs, renovation, construction, or disasters. Since 1900, the USA has consumed 31 million metric tons of asbestos, which has caused one of the largest man-made disasters. Each year, 10,000 Americans die from preventable asbestos-caused diseases.”

A copy of the resolution can be found here and text of the resolution is below.

Resolution: Designating the first week of April 2015 as ``National Asbestos Awareness Week''.

Whereas dangerous asbestos fibers are invisible and cannot be smelled or tasted;

Whereas the inhalation of airborne asbestos fibers can cause significant damage;

Whereas asbestos fibers can cause cancer such as mesothelioma, asbestosis, and other health problems;

Whereas symptoms of asbestos-related diseases can take 10 to 50 years to present themselves;

Whereas the projected life expectancy for an individual diagnosed with mesothelioma is between 6 and 24 months;

Whereas generally, little is known about late-stage treatment of asbestos-related diseases, and there is no cure for such diseases;

Whereas early detection of asbestos-related diseases may give some patients increased treatment options and might improve their prognoses;

Whereas the United States has substantially reduced its consumption of asbestos, yet continues to consume hundreds of metric tons of the fibrous mineral each year for use in certain products throughout the United States;

Whereas asbestos-related diseases have killed thousands of people in the United States;

Whereas while exposure to asbestos continues, safety and prevention of asbestos exposure already has significantly reduced the incidence of asbestos-related diseases and can further reduce the incidence of such diseases;

Whereas thousands of workers in the United States face significant asbestos exposure, which has been a cause of occupational cancer;

Whereas thousands of people in the United States die from asbestos-related diseases every year;

Whereas a significant percentage of all asbestos-related disease victims were exposed to asbestos on naval ships and in shipyards;

Whereas asbestos was used in the construction of a significant number of office buildings and public facilities built before 1975;

Whereas people in the small community of Libby, Montana, suffer from asbestos-related diseases, including mesothelioma, at a significantly higher rate than people in the United States as a whole; and

Whereas the designation of a “National Asbestos Awareness Week” will raise public awareness about the prevalence of asbestos-related diseases and the dangers of asbestos exposure: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate—

(1) designates the first week of April 2015 as “National Asbestos Awareness Week”;

(2) urges the Surgeon General of the United States to warn and educate people about the public health issue of asbestos exposure, which may be hazardous to their health; and

(3) respectfully requests that the Secretary of the Senate transmit a copy of this resolution to the Office of the Surgeon General.