Washington (March 10, 2016) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), top Democrat on the Superfund, Waste Management, and Regulatory Oversight subcommittee of the Environment and Public Works Committee, 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 Senators Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.).


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.A report last year from Senator Markey’s office revealed that the scope of asbestos hazards in schools in the United States is likely widespread but remains difficult to ascertain. 


“The devastating and long-lasting effects of asbestos exposure continue to impact American families,” said Senator Markey. “We must never lose sight of the on-going problem that asbestos presents as long as it is present in our environment. This resolution ensures that awareness remains high about asbestos-related illness and disease and that efforts continue for prevention, detection and treatment.”  


"On behalf of ADAO, I would like to thank Senator Markey and Co-Sponsors for their support of Senate resolution 376,” said Linda Reinstein, President and Co-Founder of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization. “We are extremely pleased to have 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, up to 15,000 Americans die from preventable asbestos-caused diseases.”


A copy of the resolution can be found HERE. Text of the resolution is below.

Resolution designating the first week of April 2016 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 and asbestosis, and other health problems;

Whereas symptoms of asbestos-related diseases can take between 10 and 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 asbestos-related diseases;

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

Whereas the United States has substantially reduced the consumption of asbestos in the United States, yet the United States continues to consume about 400 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—

(1) has significantly reduced the incidence of asbestos-related diseases; and

(2) can further reduce the incidence of asbestos-related 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 before 1975, asbestos was used in the construction of a significant number of office buildings and public facilities, including schools;

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 2016 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.