Blog post: Asbestos Awareness Week – April 2017
Asbestos is a mineral fiber that was added to a variety of products to strengthen them and to provide protection from heat and fire. Asbestos was added to many types of building and insulation products until the 1970s. Some of these products were floor and ceiling tiles, pipe wraps, gaskets around furnaces, roofing and siding. Asbestos is still being used in the manufacture of specific products today and much of the asbestos that was used in the past is still in place.
Asbestos can still be found in cement pipes, insulation, drywall and when disturbed may release asbestos dust particles and fibers into the air. One of the purposes of Asbestos Awareness Week is to make sure the individuals that may still be exposed to asbestos are aware of the dangers from exposure. Some of these individuals that may be exposed to asbestos are demolition and renovation workers, firefighters and teachers.
Though asbestos is a known carcinogen, it is often forgotten. The tiny fibers that may linger in old homes and buildings are a hidden danger that many people simply are not aware of. Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive form of cancer attributed to exposure to asbestos fibers. It primarily affects the lining of the lung and chest wall. Rates of the disease have increased since the 1950’s. Mesothelioma is just one disease attributed to asbestos exposure. Exposure can also cause asbestosis and lung cancer.
The focus of Asbestos Awareness Week is to ban the mining and manufacturing uses of asbestos, to educate people of what asbestos is and where it can be found and ensure the compliance and enforcement of existing laws and regulations. ADAO, the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, is holding its 13th annual International Conference this week: ADAO Conference 2017. The conference will bring together more than 300 speakers ranging from experts, lawmakers to victims to speak about education, advocacy and awareness.
There have been over 100 million people exposed to asbestos in the workplace. It is up to all of us to raise awareness and help those who have been infected and to stop others from being infected. Working together, we can better prevent diseases caused by exposure to asbestos and bring the world closer to a ban on the mining and use of asbestos.