Today begins our series of Miles for Meso spotlights. Every week between now and race day on Sept. 30, the Simmons Hanly Conroy blog will feature a survivor, warrior, volunteer or organization with a close connection to the fight against asbestos and asbestos-related diseases.
This week, we’ll shine a spotlight on the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) – the recipient of proceeds from Miles for Meso for the fourth straight year.
ADAO is the largest independent asbestos victims’ organization in the United States. It was founded in 2004 to give asbestos victims and concerned citizens a united voice, to raise public awareness about the dangers of asbestos exposure, and to work toward a global asbestos ban.
Linda Reinstein co-founded ADAO with Doug Larkin in 2004 after her husband Alan was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma a year earlier. She knew thousands of other were going through what she and her family were experiencing and felt compelled to take action. After almost three years of battling mesothelioma and undergoing numerous radical surgeries and chemotherapy, Alan passed away in May 2006. Since then, Linda has continued fighting on behalf of mesothelioma warriors, survivors and their families, not afraid to take the fight directly to lawmakers.
In June 2016, President Obama signed into law The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act that reformed the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), signifying a major milestone in ADAO’s fight to ban asbestos. During last year’s Miles for Meso race, ADAO joined forced with Simmons Hanly Conroy in taking the fight even further, setting up an “Action Station” for participants to get involved. Race-goers were asked to each sign his/her name to a card, asking the EPA to name asbestos as one the first 10 chemicals slated for review under the TSCA reform. Hundreds of signatures were collected – and those peoples’ voices were heard.
Linda delivered the signatures to Washington, D.C., and coupled with persistent and dedicated advocacy from ADAO, the EPA listened and prioritized asbestos as one of the first ten chemicals to be reviewed. Although we’ve come even closer to realizing a full ban of asbestos in the United States, at this year’s race, we’re asking you to make your voices heard once more.
The main industry that still uses asbestos in manufacturing is the chlor-alkali industry, and they are lobbying hard for an exemption from any pending regulation. If the EPA denies this exemption, there will be a de facto ban. If they grant this industry request, it will keep workers at these chlor-alkali plants and the surrounding communities at risk – effectively negating any regulation they do put in place.
At this year’s race, there will once again be an “Action Station” where you will be able to sign the “Ban Asbestos in the US Now, Without Loopholes or Exceptions” petition in support of the EPA finally banning asbestos once and for all under the TSCA reform.
Asbestos continues to take more than 15,000 American lives each year and hundreds of thousands around the world. The chlor-alkali industry’s voice is loud, but ours can be louder. We ask that you step up to the proverbial microphone and show your support by attending this year’s Alton Miles for Meso 5K Race & 2K Fun Run/Walk.