Ban All Use of Toxic Asbestos and Compensate Victims

Figure A shows the location of the lungs, airways, pleura, and diaphragm in the body. Figure B shows lungs with asbestos-related diseases, including pleural plaque, lung cancer, asbestosis, plaque on the diaphragm, and mesothelioma.

Target: U.S. House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi

Goal: Ban the use of deadly asbestos and compensate victims.

The dangers from asbestos are long since established, but it’s still legal in the United States even though it kills up to 15,000 Americans per year. While 55 countries have banned the use of asbestos, the U.S. has neither federal law that addresses asbestos nor a comprehensive system to compensate the victims of exposure. Instead, the United States left this issue for individual states to decide with, as can be expected, mixed results from state to state.

Medical evidence about the link between asbestos and diseases that can kill you was already available in the 1930s, but didn’t get much attention until the late 1960s and 1970s when the Clean Air Act identified asbestos as a dangerous air pollutant. In the 1980s, attention focused on removing asbestos from older buildings, but its use still wasn’t banned. An attempt to ban all use of asbestos was introduced in Congress in 2007, but was allowed to die. Now, it’s been found in children’s crayons sold under the names of popular children’s characters like Mickey Mouse.

Asbestos-related diseases include mesothelioma, a tumor of the tissue that lines the lungs, stomach, heart, and other organs. This deadly disease was extremely rare until the 20th century when industrial and commercial companies expanded the use of asbestos. In 2009, after decades researching mesothelioma, the International Agency for Research on Cancer reconfirmed the principle cause; inhaling the minute fibers that make up asbestos. Several types of cancers can result from exposure to any form of asbestos, including an incurable breathing problem named for it; asbestosis.

The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) presented a Workers’ Home Contamination Study to Congress that showed “families of asbestos-exposed workers have been at increased risk of pleural, pericardial, or peritoneal mesothelioma, lung cancer, cancer of the gastrointestinal tract, and nonmalignant pleural and parenchymal abnormalities as well as asbestosis.”

For far too long, there’s been more than enough evidence of the deadly dangers of asbestos. Tell Congress that use of all forms of asbestos should be banned and its victims compensated.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Minority Leader Pelosi,

The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health presented a study to Congress that illustrated how families of workers exposed to asbestos are at greater risk for various forms of cancers and other abnormalities as well as asbestosis, an incurable breathing problem named for asbestos. After decades researching deaths from mesothelioma, in 2009, the International Agency for Research on Cancer reconfirmed the principle cause; breathing in the minute fibers that make up asbestos. This disease was extremely rare until the 20th century when industrial and commercial companies expanded the use of asbestos.

Medical evidence about the dangers of asbestos has been around since the 1930s, but didn’t get much attention until the late 1960s and 1970s when the Clean Air Act identified asbestos as a dangerous air pollutant. In the 1980s, attention focused on removing asbestos from older buildings, but its use was never banned. That needs to change. This recognized killer should be banned and its victims compensated.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: National Heart Lung and Blood Institute

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