Linda Reinstein, president and CEO of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), has released a sharply worded statement protesting the U.S. House of Representatives’ passage of the Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act (H.R. 906).
ADAO is a global leader in ending asbestos exposure through education, advocacy, and community.
“ADAO is deeply troubled and saddened by today’s passage of the FACT Act, especially in the face of bipartisan opposition to the bill,” the statement reads. “Since ADAO was founded in 2004, nearly 200,000 Americans have been killed by asbestos diseases. There will be an untold number of lives lost to this killer as long as Congress continues to put corporate interests ahead of the health and safety of their constituents.”
Congress should stop asbestos imports
ADAO maintains that Congress should be passing legislation to stop asbestos imports and ensure that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can impose an effective asbestos ban, rather than providing alleged handouts to what the advocacy group calls the “murderous asbestos industry.”
They note that even though serious health hazards associated with asbestos have been known since the early 20th century, the material is still legal in the U.S., and still causing devastating illnesses and death for people exposed to the mineral’s heat-resistant fibers.
ADAO says corporations that knowingly and recklessly expose Americans to a known carcinogen like asbestos should be held accountable, and contends that the House passage of legislation that ADAO says will effectively let asbestos corporations “off the hook,” delaying compensation and justice and creating significant privacy risks for victims, is “reprehensible.”
The ADAO statement also thanks representatives who supported protection of asbestos victims’ civil rights by voting to reject the FACT Act.
“Our eyes now turn to the Senate, where we urge our elected officials to protect the American people rather than corporate profits,” it states.
Asbestos-related mesothelioma deaths on rise
According to ADAO, asbestos-caused diseases claim more than 15,000 American lives annually. And, citing newly released data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), deaths from asbestos-related mesothelioma in particular are increasing despite a major decrease in asbestos consumption since use of the material peaked in the 1970s, likely because patients were exposed to asbestos years ago while they were working. The latency period for malignant mesothelioma can be as long as 20 to 40 years, although 70 years has been observed.
According to ADAO, “Congress has allowed the man-made asbestos disaster to continue for far too long; they have a duty to make things right for asbestos victims, but the FACT Act would only cause more harm.”
Arguments against FACT Act
In its argument protesting the FACT Act, ADAO notes the legislation creates a security risk by listing the last four digits of asbestos victims’ Social Security numbers on a public website; creates new barriers and delays for victims waiting to receive compensation and justice; threatens the security of asbestos victims by revealing their personal financial information; places asbestos victims and families in jeopardy of potential blacklisting and discrimination; and publicly lists names and exposure histories of claimants and the basis for payments made from the trust to the claimants.
The nonprofit Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, founded by Reinstein and Doug Larkin in 2004, is dedicated to combining education, advocacy, and community initiatives toward prevention and elimination of asbestos exposure. ADAO works to increase public awareness about the dangers of asbestos, protect the civil rights of asbestos victims, and advocates for an asbestos ban.
Each April, ADAO organizes an annual Global Asbestos Awareness Week, which was launched following the successful passage of the Senate Asbestos Awareness Resolution that designated the first week of April as National Asbestos Awareness Week in the U.S.
ADAO is hosting the 13th Annual Asbestos Prevention and Awareness Conference, “Where Knowledge and Action Unite,” April 7-9 in Washington, D.C. This yearly gathering of doctors, scientists, experts, and victims is the only annual asbestos educational conference in the U.S., providing attendees with the opportunity to rub shoulders and connect with leaders and influencers in the asbestos prevention community.
The conference weekend will start with a dinner cruise down the Potomac. The conference and keynote address take place 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and an awards gala will held on Saturday evening, with a Unity and Remembrance Brunch on Sunday. This year’s conference theme is Art-Driven Advocacy, featuring performances from well-known musicians, comedians, filmmakers and more.
For more information and to register for the conference, visit http://bit.ly/2mozlNh.