The first week of April marked National Asbestos Awareness Week. This designation recognized the national tragedy created by the past and current dissemination and use of products in the United States containing asbestos, a known carcinogen with no known level of safe exposure.

It also served as a reminder just how unthinkable it is that the U.S. continues to import 2,000 metric tons of a product that kills approximately 10,000 Americans each year.

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As colleagues and clients, as family and friends, we came together during National Asbestos Awareness Week to comfort and console, but also to fight and to win. We took time to reflect upon the personal battles fought by those suffering from asbestos-related diseases, and we remembered those we know who have lost their lives because of exposure to the deadly substance. We also reaffirmed our efforts to find a cure for diseases such as mesothelioma by funding research, and we furthered our call to action to ban asbestos in the U.S.

As Simmons Hanly Conroy partner Michael Angelides wrote in an op-ed published this morning (view here: U.S. Ban of Asbestos Long Overdue), “Still, just as the country spends billions on asbestos cleanup, our nation continues to import and consume almost 2,000 metric tons of asbestos for use in everyday products. It’s an obvious and deadly contradiction. We need to encourage our nation’s leaders and lawmakers to stop U.S. import and use of a known cancer-causing product . . . Past deaths were preventable.  Importantly, future deaths arepreventable. There’s more to do than clean up the mess. The poisoning must be stopped.”

We ask that you join us in the fight to ban asbestos. Please visit www.banasbestos.us and write your lawmakers. You can also learn more at the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization’s web site (www.asbestosdiseaseawareness.org) or make a donation to support the Meso Foundation’s important research at www.curemeso.org. As we reflected and looked ahead during National Asbestos Awareness Week, it’s important to remember that together we can make a difference.