My lungs hurt from just thinking about our interview with Linda Reinstein, CEO/President and co-founder of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) last week. Not only was I startled to find out just how much asbestos is still a threat, but it really hit me for the first time that my father probably died from mesothelioma, but 25 years ago, we just didn’t make the connection. Well, we all knew he probably got lung cancer from a combination of working in a steel forge for 50 years and smoking, which ironically he quit doing a couple of years before he was diagnosed with lung cancer. So, now it’s personal …
Seriously. I was stumbling along in life aware of the many hazards to my health from mercury in fish to lead in almost everything, but asbestos? I thought that was a thing of the past — something to be very carefully removed from old houses — but not something that is STILL being used today.
Here are a few startling facts about asbestos from the ADAO …
- The U.S. and Canada are the last two industrial nations not to ban asbestos completely. (Let’s get busy people!)
- Over 30 years ago, the International Agency for Research on Cancer declared asbestos a known human carcinogen.
- The Word Health Organization (WHO) estimates that approximately 125 million people in the world are exposed to asbestos in the workplace
- The Word Health Organization (WHO) also estimates that one in every three deaths from occupational cancer is estimated to be caused by asbestos, and it is estimated that several thousands of deaths each year can be attributed to exposure to asbestos at home (YIKES!).
- In 2010, U.S. consumption (or use) of asbestos was 1,010 tons (that’s a LOT of asbestos!)
- Only a few years ago, in 2007, the ADAO conducted research and found asbestos in products being produced in 2007 (not 1950!) such as, Planet Toys “CSI Fingerprint Examination Kit”, DAP “33″ window glazing, DAP “Crack Shot” spackling paste, Gardner Leak Stopper roof patch, and Scotch High Performance Duct Tape. (Duct tape!?!)
Lynn Reinstein shared her very personal and passionate journey that led to her being a major force in the advocacy of banning asbestos for use in the U.S. and globally. She lost her husband to asbestos-related cancer. He was an active and healthy man prior to his diagnosis, which catapulted them both into research on how this can happen. What they discovered is that this type of cancer is actually very preventable and if there were greater awareness about exposure — particularly in certain workplace situations like construction, automotive and shipbuilding — there would be fewer needless deaths.
Please listen to our interview with Lynn in last week’s Green Divas Radio Show podcast …
Lynn is very active in working with congress to get a permanent resolution to ban asbestos. Please visit the ADAO website to learn more about asbestos exposure, asbestos-related diseases (symptoms, diagnosis, treatments), and what you can do to help ban this known carcinogen from our environment!
To find out more about last week’s Green Divas Radio Show, visit the original post for that show, which involved National Pistachio Day celebration (and a recipe for pistachio cherry biscotti), a talk with actor James Michael Reilly about building an intensive green roof house and of course our awesome Green Divas myEARTH360 report!