Missoulian: Tester, Daines designate National Asbestos Awareness Week
As part of their efforts to combat the dangers of asbestos exposure, U.S. Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines are teaming up to push a Senate resolution designating the first week of April 2021 as National Asbestos Awareness Week, according to a press release.
The bipartisan resolution aims to raise awareness of the dangers of asbestos, and urges the U.S. Surgeon General to teach Americans about the risks of asbestos exposure.
“Montanans know all too well the dangers of asbestos, but tragically, exposure to this dangerous substance is still far too common,” Tester said in the release. “As cleanup continues in Lincoln County, this resolution will help ensure more folks know about the risks of asbestos exposure, and arm them with the information they need to protect themselves from it.
“Too many Montanans have tragically suffered at the hands of asbestos,” Daines said in the release. “We must continue to raise awareness of the dangers of asbestos, and prevent what happened in Libby and Troy from occurring again. We need to work together to protect the health of Montanans across the state and shed a light on the serious medical implications of asbestos exposure.”
Since W.R. Grace closed its Libby vermiculite mine in 1990, more than 200 residents have died and thousands more are suffering from asbestos-related diseases. Clean-up efforts began in 2002 when Libby, Troy and surrounding communities were placed on the EPA’s Superfund National Priorities List.
It can take anywhere from 10 to 50 years to develop symptoms of asbestos-related diseases, which continue to kill thousands of Americans each year, the release said.
“For the sixteenth year in a row, the Senate has taken an important stand for public health. We are immensely grateful to Senator Tester and the five original cosponsors for the introduction of the Resolution,” said Linda Reinstein, co-founder of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, in the release. “Each year, 40,000 Americans die from preventable asbestos-caused diseases while imports and use continue. Undoubtedly, the Resolution’s momentum and U.S. Surgeon General’s asbestos warning will raise awareness and increase prevention efforts.”