ADAO Works to Strengthen SB 742, the Ban Asbestos in America Act of 2007
By Paul Zygielbaum
July 31 marked an important step on the road to banning asbestos in the US, when the US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) passed SB 742, the Ban Asbestos in America Act of 2007, for consideration by the full Senate.
In the last weeks before the mark-up session, ADAO volunteers (including my wife, Michelle, and I) met with Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), the author of the bill, and Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), who chairs EPW, as well as with their staffs. Working intensively to strengthen and support the bill, ADAO offered key recommendations on the language, which were received enthusiastically and incorporated into the bill as passed by EPW.
The bill had long incorporated ADAO’s recommendation that funding provisions for medical research and treatment cover all forms of asbestos-related disease, not just mesothelioma. At virtually the last minute, the bill also incorporated an amendment proposed by ADAO to address the fact that many products on American markets are believed to contain asbestos as a material contaminant, and not just as an unintentional ingredient. The new language calls for banning not just the use of asbestos, but its very presence in products, as well as mandatory, proactive compliance testing by the EPA of products on the open market and publication of these test results.
In the mark-up session, the EPW unanimously adopted this amendment and then passed the entire bill by unanimous vote. Linda Reinstein, ADAO Executive Director and Cofounder, and Doug Larkin, ADAO Director of Communications & Cofounder, attended the mark-up session to show support from patients, family members and doctors around the world. They were elated by the vote and immediately broke the news of the bill’s passage to our volunteers.
The bill would amend the Toxic Substances Control Act to include asbestos as a banned substance, which previously would require the EPA to respond to individual complaints from the public. With potentially thousands of commercial products currently containing asbestos, this approach would have been cumbersome and costly for the public to undertake, making the ban impractical to enforce. In the verison passed by the EPW, the bill represents a powerful new wall of protection for workers and the public, closing loopholes in previous drafts that could have been exploited by businesses wanting to continue producing products containing asbestos.
The full Senate is expected to take up the bill in September or October. The unexpected bipartisan support in the EPW bodes well for the bill’s chances on the Senate floor. However, the battle is far from over. Opponents are expected to try to amend the ban bill with provisions to control or eliminate asbestos liability lawsuits, along the lines of the so-called “FAIR Act” that was defeated last year. ADAO will maintain vigorous support for the ban and opposition to efforts to taint it with favors for industry.
ADAO expects to advocate for the companion bill that has been introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN).
U.S. Capitol Tunnel Workers
On August 1st the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch, Chairwoman, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) and Ranking Member, Rep. Zach Wamp (R-TN) held a Capitol Power Plant Utility Tunnels hearing with Executive Director and Co-Founder Linda Reinstein, Communications Director & Co-Founder Doug Larkin and Executive Assistant & Tunnel Worker Liaison Herman Hamilton in attendance.
The Roll Call Newspaper reported, “Former supervisor of the AOC’s tunnel team, John Thayer, appeared before the subcommittee to talk about the ill effects he, his men and now their families are experiencing as a result of asbestos in the tunnel system. “Our families now have to sit back and watch their loved ones suffer, assuming they don’t get sick from the volume of dust we took home over the years for them to unknowingly breathe,” Thayer said. “The AOC knowingly was aware and left us to suffer in the hazardous environment. … Take care of the men and their families who have given everything they had to support the Congress.”
When asked by Members for some explanation as to how the men and tunnels were ignored for seven years by AOC managers, Ayers – who joined the agency as chief operating officer 18 months ago before taking over the agency – blamed “management breakdowns” and, more specifically, poor internal communications, a lack of independent third-party oversight and a lack of a prioritization system in which life-safety issues could rise to the top.”
View ADAO Press Release
Asbestos Video Library (AVL)
By Dr. Richard Lemen
On August 1, 2007 the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization was proud to announce the creation of the Asbestos Video Library (AVL). This Library will become the video voice of the organization allowing ADAO to broadcast important conferences, news on developments related to asbestos-disease, announcements of upcoming events, updates on medical treatments and support for asbestos-related disease victims 24 hours a day seven days a week. The AVL and will have an interactive feature to allow viewers to discuss issues with the ADAO as well as post important information for the organization to share with other viewers. We are excited with this new ADAO program for outreach and are sure this will advance the awareness of asbestos-related disease and allow a mechanism for support of those with questions up to now hard to find answers to. We invite all to tune in, learn, and share your input with ADAO.
Volunteer of the Month – Jordan Zevon
Interview with Jordan Zevon, the national spokesperson for ADAO and this month’s chosen volunteer of the month.
Q: How does it feel to be chosen as volunteer of the month?
J: Considering how many people give so much of themselves to this cause, it’s an honor.
Q: What is it that you do for ADAO as the national spokesperson?
J: As the spokesperson I try to make people aware of the dangers that are around them. I try to raise funds and do whatever possible to forward the cause of Asbestos awareness. There are so many incredible doctors and researchers that we work with all the time that what I try to do is to give the human aspect as someone who has suffered the loss and as someone who is terrified of the lack of knowledge.
Q: How is it that you go about doing that?
J: Through fundraising and by spreading the word to any voice that will listen. For example I acquired the web address, http://www.adao.us, that forwards to our original address, http://www.asbestosdiseaseawareness.org, in the hopes that this easier-to-remember web address would get more people to come to the site and enlighten themselves. As strange as it sounds, It’s almost as if I’m selling a product, the difference here is that the product I’m selling is information that could save lives. I perform every year at the ADAO conferences, I publish the address in my CD booklets and I mention it in every interview.
Q: What plans do you have in the future?
J: Eventually when I go on tour, I would like to have an information booth representing ADAO.
Q: So you and Linda went to Washington DC to educate Members of Congress and the national media about Senator Spector’s trust fund legislation and for Asbestos Awareness Day?
J: Yes, it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life, to meet with the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and it felt amazing to have a direct voice into an influential ear. And now April 1st is the official Asbestos Disease Awareness Day.
Q: Will continue to perform at the annual ADAO symposium?
J: As long as my schedule allows, I will do whatever Linda asks of me. I’m at her beck and call. She says “jump,” I ask “how high?”
Q: What do you see for the future of ADAO?
J: To find the best ways possible to spread the message about this. For many people, Mesothelioma is just a long, difficult to remember word, that they’ve seen in a late night infomercial where as I like to make people aware and inform them that this isn’t a selective killer. My father was not a factory worker, we have no idea how he got the disease so there’s nothing to say that anybody is immune. And after the tragedy of 9/11 that caused the clouds of toxic dust to pour through the streets of New York, trapped in the atmosphere and deposited around the world, from what I’ve learned in my work with ADAO, I’m horrified for the future. This is one case where saying “I told you so” brings me no joy.
Q: What is your ultimate goal with ADAO?
J: To bring awareness to the level of so many other causes that have been struggling for awareness and ultimately a cure. We have a long road ahead of us and I want to help build a freeway to the cure. It seems that the entertainment industry is such a fixation of the general public nowadays that the best thing I can do is to try and recruit other entertainers for concerts, PSAs or anything possible. Like I said before, it feels strange because I’m almost treating this as a product but whomever takes a moment to look at this product will understand that they can’t live without it because that product is awareness.
Special Feature: Asbestos Plague Reaches Asia
by Laurie Kazan-Allen, IBAS Coordinator
The first anniversary of a landmark Asian conference (Bangkok, Thailand) is being marked with the publication of a dossier exposing the devastating repercussions of Asia’s increasing consumption of asbestos, an acknowledged carcinogen.
Information and data previously unobtainable in the English language form the core of: Killing the Future – Asbestos Use in Asia. An overview of asbestos issues in several countries is presented and regional trends are analyzed, all of which lead the author to conclude that:
“The transference of asbestos technology to industrializing countries is an imperialist act which exploits the world’s most at-risk populations. The continuing use of asbestos is a crime against humanity and cannot be justified.”The text of this report highlights the work of asbestos victims’ groups, pioneering non-governmental organizations and global labor federations in the fight to expose the lethal machinations of the industry lobby. Photographs showing chaotic and hazardous working practices throughout Asia reveal that the reassurance of asbestos stakeholders that asbestos can be used safely under “controlled conditions” is a bald-faced lie.”Millions of global asbestos victims have learned that when it comes to asbestos the polluter rarely pays; the real costs of using this toxic substance are borne by individuals, families, communities and countries. The best way to reduce the burden of asbestos-related disease is to ban asbestos; asbestos is yesterday’s material and should be relegated to the dustbin of discredited technologies and discarded materials,” said author Laurie Kazan-Allen, Coordinator of the IBAS.
For further information, contact Laurie Kazan-Allen, the IBAS Coordinator by email: email@example.com or phone: + 44 (0) 208 958 38 87.
2008 Asbestos Awareness Day Conference
The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization’s 4th Annual Asbestos Awareness Day Conference will be held on March 29 – 30, 2008 in Detroit, Michigan.
The Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, a leading comprehensive cancer center in the U.S. will be the venue of the ADAO Conference, Global Mission: Call To Action To Prevent, Detect Treat Asbestos-Related Diseases & Trauma. This event is being made possible by the co-sponsorship of the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, the National Center for Vermiculite and Asbestos-Related Cancers, also based at Karmanos, and the International Ban Asbestos Secretariat (IBAS).
National Center for Vermiculite and Asbestos-Related Cancers Co-Directors are internationally renowned physicians Karmanos President and CEO John C. Ruckdeschel, M.D. and Michael R. Harbut, M.D.,MPH, FCCP, and chief, Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
Conference participants will learn about the most advanced medical, occupational and environmental information available about asbestos related diseases. Presentations will focus on occupational and non-occupational exposure, public health and environmental aspects, early warning symptoms, treatment, trauma and end of life issues.This important international conference is being held to increase awareness of asbestos-related diseases, which kills at least 100,000 workers globally every year.
This important international conference is being held to increase awareness of asbestos-related diseases, which kills at least 100,000 workers globally every year.
Watch for more conference agenda and registration in the fall.
For more information contact : AAD@AsbestosDiseaseAwareness.org
Collegium Ramazzini and the Fight Against Asbestos
By Dr. Arthur Frank
The Collegium Ramazzini, an organization named after the “Father ” of Occupational Medicine, Bernadino Ramazzini, an Italian physician born in Carpi in 1633, is represented by no more than 180 active Fellows, by its charter, and attempts to serve as an educational resource for occupational and environmental issues. One topic that has been of active interest has been the subject of asbestos, and trying to educate the world about its dangers. Two active participants in the Collegium’s activities and writings have been the ADAO Science Advisory Co-chairs Drs. Richard Lemen and Dr. Arthur Frank. The Collegium has written several times and adopted statements regarding the hazards of asbestos, including chrysotile, and has urge the banning of the use of this material. Various Fellows regularly participate in asbestos related activities around the world and include, but are not limited to T.K. Joshi in India, Fernanda Giannasi in Brazil, Elihu Richter in Israel, as well as others. Collaborating with other groups the Collegium, like ADAO, has also had influence in Japan, Thailand, India, and other parts of the developing world. Others have helped with support for Senator Patty Murray’s ban asbestos activities in the U. S. Senate. Many Fellows were signatories to an Amicus brief filed with the Supreme Court of Michigan which lead to a favorable decision about the hazards of asbestos in brakes. It is good to know that ADAO is not alone in its fight to bring to a halt the dangers of asbestos.
International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma
The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (MARF) invites you to this year’s International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma, which will be held in Washington, DC from October 4th – October 6th. ADAO will be attending the conference again for the 4th year. The MARF conference is an excellent opportunity to meet other patients and caregivers and learn the most advance treatment options.
ADAO reunion information will be posted on our homepage on October 1st.
National PBS Premier on P.O.V – Libby Montana
In the small town of Libby, many hundreds of people are sick or have already died from exposure to asbestos, a notorious industrial toxin that many Americans would consider long banned or under control.
Visit the P.O.V. website and watch additional scenes not included in the film, listen to an interview with journalist Andrew Schneider, who broke the story in Libby on the pages of The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and watch, or read an interview with filmmakers Drury Gunn Carr and Doug Hawes-Davis (video, podcast and text).
Check your local listings and view trailer
As of the September eNewsletter, Herman Hamilton will no longer be the editor. If you have suggestions or comments, please email info@AsbestosDiseaseAwareness.org. Thanks to Herman, we have an exciting new eNewsletter format!
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