Asbestos exposure has been directly linked to the development of mesothelioma and other serious diseases. For many years, the dangers of exposure to the toxic fibers of asbestos have been well-known across the country. Despite this knowledge, the use of asbestos is not banned in the United States.

Recently, the U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin released a statement in honor of Asbestos Awareness Week (April 1-7), saying, “there is no level of asbestos exposure that is known to be completely safe.”

The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) applauded Benjamin for her remarks concerning asbestos. The organization concurred with Benjamin in a recent press release by adding, “all Americans [should] learn about the dangers of asbestos exposure and…understand the steps they can take to protect their health.”

The organization has been working with the White House and Congress for years in an effort to prevent asbestos exposure with the ultimate goal of eliminating all asbestos-related diseases, including mesothelioma.

Despite being aware of the dangers of any level of asbestos exposure, the substance is still used in industries and occupations, especially manufacturing. In the ADAO press release, it is reported that US consumption of asbestos was 1,060 tons in 2012, and was used to meet manufacturing needs. The toxic substance also still exists within homes, schools, offices and factories across the United States. Because of this, renovations, demolitions, or simple wear-and-tear can be dangerous should anyone come into contact with asbestos fibers through inhalation.

Being educated about asbestos and the risks involved with asbestos exposure is one way to help prevent further exposure and the development of serious asbestos-related diseases. Although the substance is not banned in the United States, we can all make a difference by learning more, knowing where asbestos may be found, and knowing how to handle the substance should we come into contact with it.

“Together, we can prevent the dangers associated with asbestos,” said Surgeon General Regina Benjamin in the ADAO press release.

Learn more about asbestos exposure, common occupations associated with asbestos exposure, and what you should know about exposure to asbestos now.