January 23, 2019

ADAO Applauds U.S. Surgeon General for Statement on the Dangers of Asbestos in Support of National Asbestos Awareness …


The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), which combines education, advocacy, and community to prevent exposure and ensure justice for asbestos victims, today announced its strong support for the statement from Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy, U.S. Surgeon General, that reaffirms the dangers of asbestos. According to the statement: “National Asbestos Awareness Week is April 1-7 – a good time to remind Americans about the health dangers of asbestos exposure. Asbestos, a natural mineral fiber that is found in rock and soil, was widely used as insulation and fireproofing material in homes, commercial buildings, ships and other products, such as paints and car brakes. In recent years, asbestos use has decreased dramatically after it was linked to illnesses, including lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis.” He continued, “because of its use in so many products, asbestos is still of special concern.”

Since 2004, ADAO has been working with Congress and the White House to prevent asbestos exposure in efforts to eliminate deadly asbestos-related diseases. The U.S. Surgeon General’s Statement coincides with National Asbestos Awareness Week, (April 1 – 7) as designated by the Senate in its 11th consecutive annual resolution that includes an indisputable list of facts about the dangers of asbestos. This important educational week raises public awareness about the prevalence of asbestos-related diseases and the dangers of asbestos exposure and coincides with the international educational campaign – Global Asbestos Awareness Week.

“It is unconscionable that our country continues to import deadly asbestos and that it continues to be used in products that we are unknowingly exposed to,” stated Linda Reinstein, ADAO Co-Founder and President. “We are grateful to U.S. Surgeon General Murthy for his statement reaffirming the dangers of asbestos, helping to spread the word that there is no safe level of exposure. It is especially meaningful on the second day of Global Asbestos Awareness Week, which ADAO has dedicated to the previous U.S. Surgeon General Statements and the past 11 U.S. Senate Resolutions. More than fifty countries have banned asbestos, but the U.S. is not one of them. 10,000 Americans die each year due to asbestos exposure and the time for a ban is long overdue. Millions of tons of asbestos remain in U.S. homes, schools, offices, and factories. Enough is truly enough.”

Despite its known dangers, asbestos remains legal and lethal in the USA and imports continue. Exposure to asbestos can cause mesothelioma, lung, gastrointestinal, laryngeal, and ovarian cancers; as well as non-malignant lung and pleural disorders. The World Health Organization estimates that 107,000 workers around the world will die every year of an asbestos-related disease, equaling 300 deaths per day.

ADAO’s 11th Annual Asbestos Awareness Conference features more than 40 renowned medical experts and asbestos victims from ten countries, focusing on the latest advancements in asbestos disease prevention, treatment for mesothelioma and other asbestos-caused diseases, and global ban asbestos advocacy. To register for ADAO’s 2015 conference, click here.

About the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization

The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) was founded by asbestos victims and their families in 2004. ADAO is the largest non-profit in the U.S. dedicated to providing asbestos victims and concerned citizens with a united voice through our education, advocacy, and community initiatives. ADAO seeks to raise public awareness about the dangers of asbestos exposure, advocate for an asbestos ban, and protect asbestos victims’ civil rights. For more information, visit www.asbestosdiseaseawareness.org. ADAO, a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, does not make legal referrals.


Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO)

Kim Cecchini

Media Relations



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ADAO Applauds U.S. Surgeon General for Statement on the Dangers of Asbestos in Support of National Asbestos Awareness …

Solons want to ban asbestos

Lawmakers sought a total ban on the the importation, manufacture, processing, use and distribution of the “dangerous and disease-causing” asbestos and asbestos-containing products.

Akbayan party-list Reps. Walden Bello and Ibarra Gutierrez III lamented that despite the issuance of a resolution seeking to totally ban asbestos in the Philippines during the 11th National Occupational Safety and Health Congress in October 2008, the use of the harmful substance continues.

In filing House Bill 4437, they expressed concern that Philippines is considered as the fourth largest importer of asbestos at $76.32 million annually.

“The current policy is one of control by regulation of the use and disposal of asbestos products. There is a ban on crocidolite or blue asbestos and amosite or brown asbestos while the use of chrysolite or white asbestos is not banned and permitted in high density products as fire proofing, clothing, roofing felts or related products, asbestos cement roofing and flat sheet, friction materials, high temperature textile products etc.,” Bello said.

Bello noted that the “alarming” exposure to asbestos even in very minute amounts could lead to asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.

House Bill 4437 provides the implementation of the ban on the importation, manufacturing, processing, use or distribution of asbestos and asbestos-containing products whether for commercial or non-commercial purposes “not later than two years from the effectivity” of the proposed Act.

The proposed Asbestos Ban Act of 2014 tasks the Secretary of Health, in consultation with the Secretary of Trade and Industry and the Secretary of Labor and Employment, to establish a public education and safety program aimed primarily at increasing awareness of the dangers posed by asbestos-containing products and contaminants in homes and workplaces and asbestos-related diseases.

An inter-agency technical advisory council attached to the Department of Health (DOH) shall also be created to assist the agency in preparing, conducting and reporting the public education and safety program, the bill said.

HB 4436 provides that any person who violates the provisions of the Act shall be punished by a penalty of six months to two years imprisonment or a fine of not than P100,000 nor more than P1 million or both at the discretion of the court.

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Solons want to ban asbestos

Acting U.S. Surgeon General Issues Statement on the Dangers of Asbestos in Support of National Asbestos Awareness Week


The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) applauds the statement today from Rear Admiral Boris Lushniak, Acting U.S. Surgeon General that “There is no known safe level of asbestos exposure and precautions should be taken to protect your health.” As his statement explained, “Scientists have long understood that asbestos can cause mesothelioma, lung cancer, and other lung diseases when the fibers are inhaled…Apparent symptoms and disease may take many years to develop following exposure, and asbestos-related conditions can be difficult to identify.”

ADAO is honored that Dr. Lushniak will be the keynote speaker at our 10th Annual Asbestos Disease Awareness Conference, “Where Knowledge and Action Unite,” April 5, 2014 in Washington, D.C.

Since 2004, ADAO has been working with Congress and the White House to prevent asbestos exposure in efforts to eliminate deadly asbestos-related diseases. The 10th annual Senate Resolution 336, designating April 1 – 7 as National Asbestos Awareness Week includes a chilling list of facts about the dangers of asbestos. “Asbestos is deadly. It does not think; it just kills. This so-called miracle mineral gets into your body and doesn’t show itself for years,” said Michael Bradley, a 29-year-old mesothelioma patient. Bradley is a presenter at the ADAO Conference, on the topic “Asbestos Ruined My Life.” Each day of the 2014 Asbestos Awareness Week educational campaign features the Acting U.S. Surgeon General’s statement, guest blogs from experts and patient stories like Bradley’s, shared through social media networks.

“More than 10,000 Americans die every year from preventable diseases, yet exposure continues,” stated Linda Reinstein, ADAO Co-Founder and President. “The time is now for Congress to begin the steps to reduce and eventually stop asbestos imports and ban asbestos. Fifty-five countries have banned asbestos, but the U.S. is not one of them. Millions of tons of asbestos remain in U.S. homes, schools, offices, and factories. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reported that in 2013, U.S. asbestos consumption was 950 tons in order to meet ‘manufacturing needs.’ There is consensus from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, World Health Organization, International Labor Organization, and International Agency for Research on Cancer that asbestos is a carcinogen and there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos.”

To read the Acting Surgeon General’s full statement, visit: http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2014pres/04/20140402a.html.

About the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization

The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) was founded by asbestos victims and their families in 2004. ADAO seeks to give asbestos victims a united voice to help ensure that their rights are fairly represented and protected, and raise public awareness about the dangers of asbestos exposure and the often deadly asbestos-related diseases. ADAO is funded through voluntary contributions and staffed by volunteers. For more information, visit www.asbestosdiseaseawareness.org.



Kim Cecchini, 202-391-5205


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Acting U.S. Surgeon General Issues Statement on the Dangers of Asbestos in Support of National Asbestos Awareness Week

Yes Rep. McCarthy, You Should Drop Your Asbestos Lawsuit

English: Congressional portrait of Carolyn McC...

U.S. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

New York Times Columnist Joe Nocera has a hard-hitting piece today about the sheer cynicism of U.S. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy’s attempt to get money from some 70 companies for her lung cancer, which was almost certainly caused by her pack-a-day smoking habit.

I wrote about this last week, of course, drawing a lively set of comments from lawyers who accused me of everything from misunderstanding the science — wrong — to lacking objectivity — maybe, but I don’t earn a fee based on the outcome of my reporting. And Nocera also suggests McCarthy should drop her case, because it merely highlights what a corrupt exercise asbestos litigation has become.

I agree McCarthy should, as a member of Congress, drop her attempt to get money from companies that almost certainly had nothing to do with her illness. Her lawsuit, filed by the politically connected law firm of Weitz & Luxenberg, displays what a routine exercise this has become. The suit lists scores of companies that once manufactured, distributed or handled products containing asbestos, from water-heater maker A.O. Smith to Yuba Heat Transfer, which makes heat exchangers for power plants. General Electric General Electric is in there, as is Flowserve Flowserve, the Long Island Power Authority and Goodyear Goodyear Tire.

The actual complaint conveys a sort of poetic imagery in its cynicism: NYAL – WEITZ &LUXENBERG, P.C. STANDARD ASBESTOS COMPLAINT FOR PERSONAL INJURY No.7.

McCarthy claims, in answers to questions from defendants, that she is “fearful of death” and her “asbestos-related condition has disrupted my life, limiting me in my everyday activities and interfering with living a normal life.” Amazingly, for a woman who appears to have been exposed to just about every company in the asbestos-production chain, Rep. McCarthy denies regular exposure to a large number of other dangerous substances including acids, aluminum, coal dust, live chickens, toluene and silica.

She does admit to a 30-year smoking habit, at times amounting to a pack a day, which she ended in May 2013 when she received her diagnosis of lung cancer. But did she know cigarettes cause cancer? Apparently not. In response to the question of whether she was ever told by a physician that she was “suffering from any disease or illness caused by or contributed to by tobacco,” the former nurse answered, under penalty of perjury, “no.” Neither was she “advised by any physician or any other person that use of tobacco products could adversely affect” her health. Nor was she “ever advised to stop using tobacco products.”

I am not sure how anybody could get through nursing school, even decades ago, without learning the dangers of smoking. Or be under the regular care of physicians at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, as McCarthy says she was for the past 16 years, without ever once being alerted to the fact that cigarette smoking is a habit best quit. Or how her physicians at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center failed to mention smoking as a possible cause of her lung cancer.

But her “no” answers could come in handy should the Congresswoman ever decide to sue a tobacco company.

For now, McCarthy is pursuing a claim that she was exposed to stray asbestos fibers brought home on the clothing of her father (cause of death: massive stroke) and brother who worked in shipyards and power plants in the area. But she also found herself in harm’s way when she visited and picked up her father and brother “at various work sites including Navy Yards, Bridges, Hospitals, Schools, Powerhouses and other sites where I breathed the asbestos dust and from asbestos containing equipment being worked on, installed and removed by my father, brother and other workers.”

It’s a well-worn strategy of asbestos lawyers to sue companies like brake-pad manufacturers and gasket makers for contributing to the lung disease of aging workers, most of whom smoked. The theory is they inhaled asbestos fibers as they walked past somebody else replacing the gasket in a steam pipe. Never mind that asbestos exposures must be high and continuous to cause disease; lawyers have come up with a scientifically dubious theory that even one stray fiber can cause cancer, the flutter of a butterfly’s wings causing a metastatic cascade ending in death.

With her complaint, McCarthy carries this to the extreme. How many New York residents have not been exposed to asbestos at least at the level of Rep. McCarthy? Are they all entitled to payouts from Goodyear and GE?

The point of this post isn’t to cause further suffering to McCarthy, who is already going through a horrible experience. But as a lawmaker, she should reconsider engaging in litigation with such dubious underpinnings. I know it is standard practice to sue everybody and sort out the real perps in discovery. That pattern strays into the extortionate with asbestos litigation, however, where each of the named defendants can be rid of a case with the payment of a few thousand dollars, or risk a potentially devastating jury award if they resist.

For an example, look no further than the Weitz & Luxenberg website, which proudly announces a $190 million verdict lawyers there won in July on behalf of five industrial workers who came down with mesothelioma. Those are the stakes for companies that decline to play the game.


Yes Rep. McCarthy, You Should Drop Your Asbestos Lawsuit

Chain-Smoking Congresswoman's Asbestos Suit Shows New Trend

Beschreibung: Konventionelles Rntgenbild des ...

Uh-oh. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If anybody should understand what caused her lung cancer, it’s New York Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy. The 69-year-old Democrat spent 30 years as a nurse before being elected to the U.S. Congress, and reportedly was a heavy smoker for more than 40 years.

Yet McCarthy is seeking money from more than 70 asbestos companies, saying she was actually sickened by asbestos fibers carried home on the clothes of father and brothers, who worked on navy ships and in utilities.

McCarthy’s suit has drawn well-deserved criticism, both for the implausibility of her claims and because her lawyers are the politically connected firm of Weitz & Luxenberg, which employs the speaker of the New York General Assembly, Sheldon Silver. Odds are most of the companies she’s suing will settle for that reason alone.

But McCarthy also illustrates a potentially disturbing new trend for both corporate defendants and the true victims of asbestos-related disease. Having exhausted the pool of mesothelioma claimants, plaintiff lawyers are turning to lung cancer again, reviving a strategy that fell into disuse after courts started removing cases not directly claiming asbestos disease from the docket. They’re filing thousands of cases on behalf of smokers who claim that stray asbestos fibers, not cigarettes, made them sick.

If the strategy works, plaintiff lawyers will succeed in draining bankruptcy trusts set up for the benefit of asbestos victims, leaving less money for people with mesothelioma and asbestosis, which are both directly linked to asbestos exposure. It may even set up a conflict between lawyers who pay millions of dollars for TV and Internet advertising to get the 2,500 or so patients diagnosed with mesothelioma each year, and higher-volume law firms representing lung cancer plaintiffs.

Lung-cancer claims in Madison County, Ill. and Delaware, two of the most active venues for asbestos litigation, have more than doubled since 2010, to more than 600 a year in each court system, according to a new article in Mealey’s Asbestos Bankruptcy Report. Southern California courts are also seeing an upturn. And an analysis of claims in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas found that 75% of the claimants suing over asbestos-related lung cancer revealed a smoking history, with three-quarters of them smoking at least a pack a day for an average of 39 years.

The report, by Peter Kelso and Marc Scarcella of Bates White Economic Consulting and Joseph Cagnoli, a partner with the defense firm of Segal McCambridge Singer & Mahoney, says lung-cancer claims have fluctuated up and down over the years, not because of changes in the rate of cancer — new diagnoses run around 200,000 a year in the U.S. and are declining steadily — but due to “changing economic incentives for plaintiff law firms.”

Lawyers made billions of dollars in the 1980s and 1990s by setting up mobile X-ray screening sites at union halls and other locations with concentrations of industrial workers, l0oking for claimants with lung scarring or other signs of asbestos-related disease. Because lung cancer is clearly caused by smoking, workers with cancer and a history of smoking were considered to have lower-value cases than n0n-smoking workers with asbestosis.

Using a time-honored strategy, lawyers bundled those weak and strong cases together, leveraging larger overall settlements than if the cases were presented separately. The most valuable cases have always involved mesothelioma, a cancer of the chest lining that is closely linked to asbestos exposure (although it clearly has other causes; the death rate has been rising in recent years despite a steep decline in industrial asbestos use since the 1970s.). In one example cited by the authors, G-I Holdings G-I Holdings settled 160,000 cases in the 1990s in groups of 250 or more, paying out two-thirds of the money to non-mesothelioma claimants.

So-called n0n-malignant cases plunged a decade ago after courts around the country stopped allowing them on their active dockets, thus removing them from the pool of cases lawyers could bundle for settlement. Non-malignant claims fell from 90% of claims and 50% of payments to 2% of settled cases. Mesothelioma grabbed the vast majority of the money from court settlements.

Since lawyers spent an estimated $500-$1,000 per plaintiff for mass screenings, the authors say, the decline of non-malignant claims made it less economically viable to perform mass screenings. One side effect was fewer lung-cancer claims.

But at the same time, many asbestos manufacturers declared bankruptcy and set up trusts, typically under the control of plaintiff lawyers, to pay out claims. Those trusts, now with more than $30 billion in assets, often provide “expedited review” that allows plaintiffs to collect small awards — $4,000 to as little as $250 — with minimal paperwork and no requirement to disclose smoking history.

The authors say the trusts have paid out $1.2 billion in lung-cancer claims since 2009, and estimate that each claimant might hit 20-30 trusts for payment, meaning as much as $106,000 for a case of lung cancer likely caused by smoking. That provides enough fee income for lawyers to start mass screenings again, the authors say. Out of 1,000 workers screened, lawyers could be expected to turn up 40 cancer claims worth about $3 million in fees after expenses, compared with perhaps 10 cases of asbestosis.

Without judicial mechanisms to more carefully vet these cases, they write, “there is nothing preventing plaintiff law firms from bringing mass quantities of meritless lung cancer cases against asbestos defendants.”

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Chain-Smoking Congresswoman's Asbestos Suit Shows New Trend

Workers' group re-files bill protecting construction workers, communities from asbestos dust

MANILA — Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP), the biggest labor federation in the country, re-filed in the House of Representatives a bill banning importation, manufacture, process, use and commercial distribution of deadly asbestos and asbestos-containing products in the country to protect construction workers and communities from developing asbestos-related diseases.

“The problem with asbestos is that once workers are exposed to its dust, symptoms of the diseases related to it will manifest 10 to 15 years later. Banning asbestos is the way to go if we want to protect our workers and the general population from first-hand and secondary exposure,” said Gerard Seno, executive vice president of ALU-TUCP.

He also serves as program coordinator of the ban asbestos advocacy campaign in the country.

ALU-TUCP partners with Building and Woodworkers International (BWI) in the trade union lobby for approval of the bill.

Filed in two previous congresses, the bill is now known as House Bill 2638.

It was introduced by TUCP party list Rep. Raymond Mendoza.

The ban takes effect one year after the proposed bill is enacted into law, giving government agencies the necessary period of transition.

While it seeks total ban, the proposal allows the health and defense departments to give exemptions on some selected uses of asbestos upon filing of petition for exemption for a specific period as long as these would not injure public health or the environment and if there is no alternative to it.

It also calls on building owners and contractors to demolish buildings containing asbestos then transport and dispose the acummulated materials using standard safety protocols.

Once enacted, violators of the law will be fined P100,000 to P 1 million or meted imprisonment of not less than three months but not more than three years.

It provides for a central registry of workers exposed to asbestos and calls for an establishment of an asbestos-related disease research and treatment network to support detection, prevention, treatment and cure of asbestos-related diseases with emphasis on mesothelioma.

“Asbestos dust killed thousands of workers and other members of communities here and around the world several years after they were directly and indirectly exposed to the material. There are thousands more who are currently wasting away from pain and consumed by misery caused by asbestos-related cancers and other diseases due to exposure. Many of them used their retirement pay and pension benefits in medication to treat their asbestos-related diseases. This legislative proposal will put an end to this vicious cycle,” Mendoza said.

In the Philippines, an estimated 1.3 million workers in construction and general industry are significantly exposed to asbestos dust every day.

Heaviest exposure happens at removal of asbestos during renovation or demolition of buildings and structures.

Government issued the Chemical Control Order (CCO) for Asbestos in 2000 to regulate importation, use, manufacture, transport and disposal of asbestos and asbestos-containing materials after a screening program in 1992 to 1996 by Lung Center of the Philippines found more than half of 1,542 shipyard workers in Subic Naval Base in Zambales contracted asbestos-related cancers and other diseases amid exposure to asbestos-laden materials.

The ban bill was introduced in the light of poor enforcement of the CCO.

Though it limits use of asbestos on several items and prohibits new uses and application of asbestos, the CCO does not have the teeth to hold violators accountable.

World Health Organization said all forms of asbestos are carcinogenic.

It said about 125 million people in the world are exposed to asbestos at the workplace and some 107,000 people die each year from asbestos-related lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis.(PNA)


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Workers' group re-files bill protecting construction workers, communities from asbestos dust

ADAO President to Testify before U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works as Part of Expert Panel …


The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), the largest
independent asbestos victims’ organization in the U.S., today announced
that President and Co-Founder Linda Reinstein will testify about the
dangers of asbestos on Wednesday, July 31, 2013 at 9:30 AM EDT before
the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW). She
will join an expert panel during a full committee hearing entitled, “Strengthening
Public Health Protections by Addressing Toxic Chemical Threats. ”

The hearing, to be held at 406 Dirksen Senate Office Building, will
examine the need for Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) reform
to protect public health and our environment from chemicals.

Ms. Reinstein will discuss how the specific TSCA reform under
consideration through the “Safe Chemicals Act of 2013″ (S. 696) is
critically flawed and jeopardizes public health and the environment. Her
testimony will examine the need to expedite action to prohibit imports,
and ban the manufacture, sale and export of asbestos-containing
products, while protecting each state’s ability to maintain or pass
stronger laws to regulate chemicals.

Reinstein will discuss the facts about the continued use of lethal
asbestos in the U.S., with ports in the states of Louisiana, Texas,
California and New Jersey still actively receiving and unloading
asbestos shipments. Reinstein will also reference the U.S. Geological
Survey’s (USGS) report that states that U.S. asbestos consumption in
2012 was estimated to be 1,060 tons. In the past two years, the nation
has seen an increase in asbestos consumption in the chloralkali industry
specifically, even though viable and affordable asbestos
substitutes exist.

“Most Americans trust that their air, soil and water are safe from toxic
contaminants; however, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) has
failed to protect public health and our environment,” according to Ms.
Reinstein’s testimony. “Asbestos fibers are odorless, tasteless,
indestructible, and can be nearly 700 times smaller than a human hair.
All forms of asbestos can cause cancer and respiratory diseases.
Americans have lost confidence in the chemical industries’ ability to
protect us from toxins. Congress should draft and pass meaningful TSCA
reform legislation that truly strengthens protections for our families
and environment by preventing the further use of asbestos.”

Ms. Reinstein joins a panel of expert witnesses including Michael
Troncoso (Senior Counsel, Office of the Attorney General), Ken Cook
(President and Co-founder, Environmental Working Group), Daniel
Rosenberg (Senior Attorney, Natural Resource Defense Council), and
additional national experts on public health and the environment.

ADAO will deliver nearly 2,500 Ban
Asbestos petition
 supporter signatures to Congress as part of Ms.
Reinstein’s participation at the hearing.

Each year, an estimated 10,000 Americans die from asbestos-related
disease: 3,000 from mesothelioma, 5,000 from lung cancer, and 2,000 from
other cancers or respiratory diseases. Between 2000 and 2010, 43,464
Americans died from mesothelioma and asbestosis – just two of the
leading asbestos-caused diseases.

“One life lost to a preventable asbestos-caused disease is tragic,” her
testimony concludes. “Hundreds of thousands of lives lost is

About ADAO

The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) was
founded by asbestos victims and their families in 2004. ADAO seeks to
give asbestos victims a united voice to help ensure that their rights
are fairly represented and protected, and raise public awareness about
the dangers of asbestos exposure and the often deadly asbestos-related
diseases. ADAO is funded through voluntary contributions and staffed by
volunteers. For more information, visit www.asbestosdiseaseawareness.org.


Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO)

Kim Larkin, 202-391-5205


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ADAO President to Testify before U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works as Part of Expert Panel …

Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization Outraged by Shortcomings of the Chemical Safety Improvement Act of 2013


The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), an independent
non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating asbestos disease,
stated today that it cannot support the “Chemical Safety Improvement Act
of 2013” (S. 1009) without significant improvements to protect the
public from dangerous chemicals, such as asbestos. While the chemical
industry is pleased with the bill, ADAO and the majority of other
environmental and public health groups do not support the current

“We are encouraged by bipartisan efforts to overhaul the outdated and
ineffective Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) from 1976, but we cannot
support it unless critical clarifications and changes are adopted,” said
Linda Reinstein, ADAO Co-Founder and mesothelioma widow. “Asbestos
victims are outraged to see ADAO’s suggested amendments regarding
asbestos stripped from S. 1009. The facts are irrefutable – asbestos is
a known carcinogen. Congress has known for more than 100 years that
asbestos exposure causes diseases, yet exposure continues. ADAO urges
Congress immediately amend S. 1009. One life lost from an
asbestos-caused disease is tragic; hundreds of thousands of lives lost
is unconscionable.”

ADAO wrote a letter voicing their concerns to Chairman of the Senate and
Environment and Public Works Committee Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and
Sen. David Vitter, Ranking Member (R-LA). Additionally, this week, ADAO
will launch their seventh “six-word quote campaign,” in which they
invite asbestos disease patients and their families to write succinct
messages to Congress about how asbestos has affected their lives. Past
quotes submitted include “Asbestos has stolen my Dad’s life…stop the
killing” and “Asbestos is a creeping thief – stealing families.”

“Mesothelioma is an awful disease,” said Janelle Bedel, a 37-year-old
mesothelioma patient who is now in hospice care in Indiana. “We need
Congress to take action to prevent others from becoming sick from deadly
preventable disease. However, if the legislation as currently written
becomes law, future generations of Americans will fall victim to
mesothelioma and other life-changing afflictions from exposure to
dangerous chemicals. Americans need to know asbestos is deadly and has
not been banned in the U.S. There are over 3,000 different
asbestos-containing products that are still shipped to the U.S. every

The World
Health Organization
 (WHO) states that all forms of asbestos are
carcinogenic to humans and may lead to mesothelioma, lung, larynx,
ovarian cancer, and respiratory diseases. WHO estimates that 107,000
workers die every year from asbestos-related lung cancer, mesothelioma
and asbestosis. Each day, 30 Americans die from asbestos-caused diseases.

About Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization

Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) was founded by asbestos
victims and their families in 2004. ADAO seeks to give asbestos victims
and concerned citizens a united voice to raise public awareness about
the dangers of asbestos exposure. ADAO is an independent global
organization dedicated to preventing asbestos-related diseases through
education, advocacy, and community. For more information, visit www.asbestosdiseaseawareness.org.


Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO)

Doug Larkin

Director of Communications



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Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization Outraged by Shortcomings of the Chemical Safety Improvement Act of 2013

EPA blamed for delays in asbestos study in Montana

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Internal investigators faulted the Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday for years of delays in completing health studies needed to guide the cleanup of a Montana mining town where hundreds of people have died from asbestos exposure.

The EPA‘s Office of Inspector General said in a report that the studies are necessary to determine whether expensive, ongoing cleanup efforts are working in the town of Libby.

The area near the northwest corner of the state, about 50 miles from the U.S.-Canada border, was declared a public health emergency in 2009, a decade after federal regulators first responded to concerns over asbestos dust that came from a W.R. Grace and Co. vermiculite mine.

The vermiculite was used as insulation in millions of homes across the U.S.

At least $447 million has been spent on the cleanup and the town remains under the first-of-its-kind emergency declaration issued by then-EPA administrator Lisa Jackson. The deaths among residents are expected to continue for decades due to the long latency of asbestos-related diseases.

The inspector General first raised concerns about the government’s failure to figure out the danger posed by Libby asbestos more than six years ago, at the prodding of U.S. Sen. Max Baucus and former Sen. Conrad Burns. After earlier denying proposals to carry out a formal risk assessment, the agency in 2007 said it would be done by 2010.

It’s still at work on the document, with completion now slated for late 2014.

“That should have been the first thing they did,” Libby Mayor Doug Roll said Thursday. “When something hurting people and in this case killing them you need to find out what’s toxic.”

In Thursday’s report, investigators attributed the delays to competing priorities within the agency, contracting problems and unanticipated work that came up as the process unfolded.

For his part, EPA Acting Regional Administrator Howard Cantor said the agency strongly disagrees with many of the Inspector General’s conclusions.

Cantor said the risk and toxicity studies are complex endeavors that need to be done properly to make sure Libby’s residents are protected.

He added that the cleanup already has addressed 1,700 homes and commercial properties and resulted in the removal of 1.2 million tons of contaminated soil.

“The rigor with which we’re undertaking efforts to protect public health and the environment have not been affected by these delays,” he said.

But the investigators said poor communication with Libby residents, members of Congress and the Inspector General’s Office compounded the problem. They added that the agency’s lack of transparency could undermine confidence in its work in Libby.

A draft toxicology study that is key to completing the risk assessment for Libby says even an extremely small amount of asbestos fibers from the now-shuttered W.R. Grace mine can cause health problems.

Representatives of W.R. Grace and others in the chemical industry have pushed for revisions, saying the toxicity level set by the EPA is impractical because it exceeds background levels of asbestos found in some parts of the country.

Montana U.S. Sen. Max Baucus said in a statement responding to Thursday’s report that the EPA needs to avoid its past mistakes and get its studies done quickly.

“We need to move forward with this toxicological assessment, so we are making the right decisions based on the right science,” Baucus said.

Meanwhile, the cleanup grinds on. At least 80 and up to 100 properties in town are queued up for work this year, according to the EPA.

Several hundred properties still need to be addressed, and that list could grow significantly if the agency’s studies determine certain properties need to be revisited.

Work on the mine site outside town has barely begun. It closed in 1990 and remains the responsibility of W.R. Grace. A company spokesman did not immediately reply to an Associated Press request for comment.

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EPA blamed for delays in asbestos study in Montana