U.S. Senators are concerned about the threat that asbestos exposure poses to public health. In January, they passed Resolution 336 designating the first week of April 2014 as National Asbestos Awareness Week. The resolution urges the Surgeon General to warn and educate people about asbestos exposure which can be hazardous to health.
This is the eighth year in a row that Montana Senator Max Baucus has championed the resolution. He dedicates it to the nearly 300 people in Libby, Montana who died from asbestos-related diseases, many of whom worked at the W.R. Grace mine. Baucus says, Although we can’t right the tragic wrong that took place in Libby, Asbestos Awareness Week makes sure folks have the resources and tools they need to keep the tragedy of Libby from happening again.
Exposure to Asbestos Can Be Deadly
Every year, 10,000 Americans die from asbestos-related diseases. Even 30 years after peak asbestos use in the United States, 3,200 mesothelioma cases are diagnosed annually, showing that the U.S. population is still at risk. Mesothelioma is an aggressive and incurable cancer that is directly linked to asbestos exposure.
Asbestos-Containing Products Are Still Legal in the U.S.
Though more than 50 countries have banned asbestos, the U.S. still permits some asbestos-containing products to be manufactured, imported, processed and distributed. The Environmental Protection Agency provides information on asbestos-containing products. Examples of asbestos-containing products that are still not banned in the U.S. include vinyl floor tile, clothing, automatic transmission components, disk brake pads, cement pipe, and roofing felt.