Today marks the annual Mesothelioma Awareness Day in the US and mesothelioma patient advocacy groups are once again using the day to call for a total ban on asbestos, the primary cause of of this rare and deadly cancer.
Asbestos is a carcinogenic mineral that was once commonly used in a variety of building, insulation, and household products. Since it was definitively linked to both pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma in the early part of the 20th century, fifty-five countries have banned it.
Even though asbestos is blamed for the mesothelioma deaths of an estimated 2,500 Americans every year (and as many as 40,000 deaths from other asbestos-related illnesses), the US has failed to institute a ban — a fact that still surprises many Americans.
Malignant mesothelioma is not curable but it is preventable. And yet asbestos can still be found in homes, schools, public buildings, and consumer products.
Mesothelioma Awareness Day offers a chance for patients, loved ones, survivors, advocates, and healthcare professionals to join together to highlight the disease and its cause.
Mesothelioma Risk May Rise Under New EPA Rule
Although malignant mesothelioma is more familiar than it used to be thanks, to advocacy groups and several high-profile legal cases in recent years, many people are still unaware that asbestos remains legal in the US and is the primary cause of most mesothelioma cases.
In fact, even as groups like the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) converge on Washington today to petition for an asbestos ban, the EPA has plans to expand asbestos use in the US under a Significant New Use Rule announced in June.
The rule allows for new asbestos-containing products to be reviewed by the EPA without consideration of all of the ways the public might be exposed to the asbestos in them – such as through air or groundwater contamination when the product is disposed of.
As part of its Mesothelioma Awareness Day activities, ADAO will present Congress with their petition, which had more than 95,000 signatures at the end of August. The petition calls for an asbestos ban “without loopholes or exemptions.”
ADAO will also host a Congressional staff briefing entitled “TSCA and Asbestos: EPA’s Failure to Protect Public Health” which will include noted mesothelioma surgeon Raja Flores, MD, ADAO President Linda Reinstein, a former EPA Deputy Administrator, a mesothelioma patient, a member of the Environmental Working Group, and a representative from the International Association of Firefighters.
Other Mesothelioma Awareness Day Activities
In addition to the petition delivery and the Congressional briefing, the ADAO releases its annual video today to honor “mesothelioma warriors” who have died of the disease in the past year.
Mesothelioma patients, families, and other interested parties are also invited to participate in an #EndMeso Twitter chat from 12 and 1 pm Eastern time.
2018 Mesothelioma Awareness Month Events and Actions, August 30, 2018, ADAO website,