Every year, the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) dedicates the first full week of April to Global Asbestos Awareness Week (GAAW). ADAO’s 18th annual awareness campaign is set to begin on April 1 and will run through April 7.
For nearly two decades, ADAO has dedicated itself to generating much-needed awareness of the dangers of asbestos, preventing exposure to the carcinogen and leading the campaign to ban all use and imports of asbestos in the United States.
Designated a human carcinogen by the World Health Organization (WHO), asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was widely used throughout much of the 20th century in the construction, manufacturing, shipbuilding and automotive industries, among many others.
Asbestos is the only known cause of the deadly cancer known as mesothelioma. Exposure to asbestos can also cause lung cancer and asbestosis, among other illnesses and conditions.
According to the ADAO, asbestos kills more than 200,000 people around the world each year. In the United States alone, the estimated annual death toll is 40,000, according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME).
Without a ban in place, asbestos-related illnesses and deaths continue to rise, making awareness campaigns such as GAAW all the more important.
Recognizing the 18th Annual Global Asbestos Awareness Week
The success of GAAW in previous years owes much to the late Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, who served in Congress for 20 years, most notably as Senate Majority Leader during President Obama’s first and second terms.
According to ADAO President and Co-founder Linda Reinstein, Reid was instrumental in recognizing the ADAO and garnering federal support for GAAW.
Tragically, Reid passed away at the end of December 2021. In an ADAO tribute to the senator, Reinstein fondly remembered Reid’s important contributions to asbestos prevention, stating:
“Senator Reid’s efforts to aid asbestos victims were so significant that in 2006 we created the Tribute of Hope Award to honor his work. In the years since, that award has gone to a number of lawmakers, and that’s because Senator Reid gave us hope in the power of the legislative process as the best path to protecting the American public from asbestos.”
This year, GAAW will aim to carry Senator Reid’s spirit and legacy forward, serving to advance the following ADAO goals:
- Ban the mining, manufacture and use of asbestos around the world
- Prevent asbestos exposure
- Increase compliance and enforcement of existing asbestos laws and regulations
- Strengthen international partnerships to protect public health
While asbestos-exposure prevention is crucial at home here, in the United States, the importance of involving the entire global community in the movement to ban the deadly carcinogen cannot be underestimated.
Asbestos remains legal for use and importation in more than 70% of the world, including the United States. So long as there remains demand for asbestos, the needless illnesses and deaths it causes will not end.
During the 18th annual GAAW, ADAO will highlight its partnerships with leading international nonprofit organizations in an effort to promote unity among advocates from all corners of the world.
ADAO’s Week of Advocacy
Since its founding in 2004, ADAO has worked with the U.S. Senate to unanimously pass 16 Asbestos Awareness Week Resolutions and secure eight U.S. Surgeon General asbestos awareness statements.
In 2022, ADAO will promote seven themes — one for each day of GAAW. The organization’s schedule will highlight the following themes:
- Fri., April 1 (Day one): Asbestos: One word. One Week. One World.
- Sat., April 2 (Day two): World Health Organization (WHO) Asbestos-Related Disease Fact Sheet
- Sun., April 3 (Day three): Asbestos Awareness Fueled by Art and Advocacy From Jordan Zevon and Earl Dotter
- Mon., April 4 (Day four): Asbestos: Partnering for Prevention
- Tues., April 5 (Day five): Global Action to Ban Asbestos in the USA and Around the World
- Wed., April 6 (Day six): Advancing Asbestos Prevention Through Digital Education and “kNOw Asbestos” Website
- Thurs., April 7 (Day seven): Candlelight Vigil to Honor and Remember Asbestos Victims Worldwide
Throughout the week, ADAO will also share educational materials about asbestos-exposure prevention, stories from mesothelioma warriors and artwork from advocates.
How to Get Involved This Year
Standing proudly alongside the ADAO as a platinum sponsor of the organization, Simmons Hanly Conroy encourages everyone to participate in this year’s Global Asbestos Awareness Week by following and contributing to the movement online with the hashtag #2022GAAW.
To get involved on social media, like, post and share educational materials with your own followers and communities.
In addition, you can also contribute to the movement by calling on your state and local politicians to support and promote legislation that would seek to ban asbestos in the United States.
Globally, nearly 70 countries have made the pledge to ban asbestos entirely, including the entire European Union, Canada and a majority of industrialized nations. It’s well past time for the United States to follow suit.
Join the conversation online and follow daily content by using #2022GAAW.