ADAO Set to Launch 15th Annual Conference
Linda Reinstein doesn’t just talk about a world without the threat of asbestos disease.
She works tirelessly toward making it happen.
Reinstein co-founded the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization in 2004 when her husband, Alan Reinstein, was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma, the deadly cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.
Her life has never been the same.
On April 5, Reinstein will host her organization’s 15th Annual International Asbestos Awareness and Prevention Conference in Washington, D.C. The three-day conference hopes to attract a unique mix of cancer patients, asbestos experts, trade union members, lawmakers and doctors who all have one thing in common: Her cause.
“Everything I’ve done through the last 15 years has been about laying the foundation to finally ban asbestos and prevent exposure to eliminate all asbestos disease,” she told The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com. “This became my life’s work.”
Becoming America’s Leading Voice
Alan died in 2006, leaving behind a 10-year-old daughter and a widow whose relentless passion for the cause has made her America’s leading voice for asbestos awareness.
“It’s been tough, but there’s no crying in baseball. Alan is gone. If I would not have continued this fight, he would have died in vain,” she said. “And that just wasn’t an option for me. We’re making a difference.”
Still doing much of her work from an in-home office in Southern California, Reinstein and ADAO have prodded the country closer to an asbestos ban.
She speaks regularly on the topic of banning asbestos, making presentations on national and international stages from the British House of Commons and the Mexico City Parliament to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
In the last 15 years, ADAO has hosted 13 congressional staff briefings. It has worked with the U.S. Senate to pass 15 Asbestos Awareness Week resolutions. Reinstein and ADAO also have helped secure six asbestos warnings from the U.S. Surgeon General.
Making Things Happen
ADAO was the catalyst behind the Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act of 2019 introduced in the U.S House of Representatives and U.S. Senate earlier this year.
The bipartisan bill would toughen the current Toxic Substances Control Act and prohibit the commercial manufacture, processing and distribution of all asbestos and asbestos-containing mixtures.
Throughout the past 15 years, similar versions of the bill were introduced, but they stalled in the legislative process. Congressional support has increased significantly this year, giving the bill a fighting chance.
“When I started this, I never knew how long it takes to shape public policy. It’s glacially slow,” Reinstein said. “But it’s progressing. Will I be happy with a ban? Hell yes. Would I be done working? No way. There’s still so much legacy asbestos out there killing people.”
Conference Becomes Annual Highlight
Throughout Global Asbestos Awareness Week, which runs from March 31 to April 6, ADAO will showcase photographers, filmmakers and musicians who have joined the fight against asbestos.
“Hear Asbestos, Think Prevention” is the theme for 2019.
ADAO’s conference, which is unmatched in size and scope within the asbestos community, will open Friday with the inaugural March for Justice and Remembrance. It will start at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool and end on Capitol Hill.
Sessions Feature Experts and Patients
Mesothelioma patients and family member of those who died from the asbestos-related disease will open each session.
The five sessions are titled:
- Progress and Challenges from the Frontline
- Medical Advancements: Diagnosing and Treating Mesothelioma and Asbestos-Related Diseases
- Prevention: What Is It? Where Is It? What Do I Do?
- Advocacy: Global Ban Asbestos Action
- Art and Advocacy
Speakers Keep Returning to Conference
Many of those presenting at the conference are return speakers. They are drawn by their belief in Reinstein and what she does.
Retired Assistant U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Richard Lemen and environmental consultant Barry Castleman have attended each conference since 2005.
Marilyn Amento also plans to participate. She is the widow of Joe Amento, who died from mesothelioma, and she has helped the organization in various roles. Reinstein’s daughter Emily will also be in attendance.
“I don’t know if any other organization has accomplished what we have in 15 years,” Reinstein said. “I’m proud of what we’ve done. I’ll be doing this until I’m 100.”