I’d like to thank Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Max Baucus (D-MT) and cosponsors for introducing a resolution yesterday that designates the first week of April as “National Asbestos Awareness Week.” The resolution seeks to raise public awareness about the prevalence of asbestos-related diseases and the dangers of asbestos exposure.

Since 2005, National Asbestos Awareness Week has provided the mesothelioma community with an invaluable platform to help us inform others about the very real dangers of asbestos exposure and its related diseases. Many people believe becoming ill from asbestos is a thing of the past, but sadly that is far from the truth.

Every year nearly 3,000 Americans are diagnosed with mesothelioma, an often fatal cancer caused by asbestos exposure. Countless more become ill with other asbestos-caused cancers like lung, gastrointestinal, laryngeal and ovarian cancers in addition to non-malignant lung and asbestosis.

Since the early 1940s, millions of American workers have been exposed to asbestos, according to the National Cancer Institute. Health hazards from asbestos fibers have been recognized in workers exposed in the shipbuilding trades, asbestos mining and milling, manufacturing of asbestos textiles and other asbestos products, insulation work in the construction and building trades, and a variety of other trades.

These workers were exposed through no fault of their own. The dangers of asbestos have been known since the early 1930s, but companies choose profits over people and continued to manufacture this dangerous human carcinogen well into the late 1900s.

Here at the Firm, we’re looking forward to passage of the resolution. Events like National Asbestos Awareness Week help the mesothelioma community to share workers stories with the public so everyone is aware of the dangers posed by asbestos exposure.

This year National Asbestos Awareness Week begins with the 8th Annual International Asbestos Conference, organized by the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, on March 30 – April 1 in Los Angeles, Calif.

Then on Wednesday, April 4 a special screening of an asbestos documentary, “Dust: The Great Asbestos Trial” will take place at 7 p.m. at the Ray Stark Family Theatre, SCA 108, at the USC School of Cinematic Arts Complex in Los Angeles.

Additional information about the viewing and other programming for National Asbestos Awareness Week, which runs April 1-7, can be found on the ADAO website.