Asbestos exposure and asbestos-related disease remains a huge public health problem.  The World Health Organization estimates that at least 7,000 individual across the globe die annually from asbestos-releated disease, and another 125 million people are currently exposed to asbestos at work or in their communities.  Last year, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) reaffirmed its assessment that exposure to ANY form of asbestos (chrysotile, crocidolite, amosite, tremolite, actinolite, anthophyllite) is associated with an increased risk of lung cancer and mesothelioma, and that mineral substances like talc and vermiculite that contain asbestos are carcinogenic as well.  Moreover, IARC notes that asbestos exposure causes cancer of the larynx and the ovary. 

Besides its well deserved cancer label, exposure to asbestos causes tens of thousands of individuals to suffer and die from asbestosis, a chronic fibrotic pulmonary disease that robs people of their breath.  Recognizing the toll of harm created by the use and global trade in this deadly fiber, in November 2009 the American Public Health Association—the largest public health organization in the world—adopted a policy resolution calling for a global ban on asbestos.  Despite all the scientific evidence about the danger of asbestos exposure, interest groups and governments continue to sow doubt about it affect on people’s health.

KNOWLEDGE, however, is stronger than asbestos. 

Join the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization at its 6th Annual International Asbestos Awareness Conference on April 10, 2010 in Chicago, IL.  Twenty experts from the United States, England, Brazil, and Canada will present up-to-date information and lead discussions regarding the prevention, detection, and treatment of asbestos-related diseases, patient resources, and global advocacy. This year’s keynote speaker is Jordan Barab, Deputy Assistant Secretary, OSHA.  The event qualifies for 1.0 CME credit for CIHs, OHSTs, and CHST and 0.5 COC credit for CSPs who attend.

Families whose lives have been turned upside down by exposure to asbestos and/or a diagnosis of asbestos-related disease are eagerly waiting for Congress to pass legislation that bans asbestos.  The time is NOW!

P.S.  National Asbestos Awareness Week begins on April 1.  Light a candle in honor or memory of victims of asbestos disease on Wednesday, April 7 at 6:00 pm (EST).