Asbestos Exposure & Bans

ADAO Asbestos Prevention and Awareness Conference Runs Sept. 16-17

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Sep 15, 2022
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Written By: Tim Povtak,
September 15, 2022

Medical specialists, environmental experts and mesothelioma cancer survivors will be among those gathering for the 17th annual International Asbestos Awareness and Prevention Conference, to be held Sept. 16-17, at Emory University in Atlanta.

The world is invited to watch and learn with a free livestream, which is once again embracing the “Where Knowledge and Action Unite” theme.

“Our conference is, and always has been, about serving people,” said Linda Reinstein, president of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, which hosts the conference. “There should never be a barrier to education, especially when it comes to lifesaving public health information.”

Reinstein co-founded ADAO in 2004 when husband Alan Reinstein was first diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, a terminal cancer caused by asbestos exposure.

She has spent the past 18 years working tirelessly toward eliminating asbestos disease and has become one of America’s most persistent voices for asbestos awareness.

“It’s about bringing prevention to the forefront,” she told The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com. “We’re making a difference.”

Asbestos Conference Features Global Experts

More than 40 experts from seven countries will gather throughout the two days – many of them virtually – to discuss preventing and treating asbestos diseases, along with policy efforts around the world to finally ban asbestos.

Among the experts will be highly regarded thoracic surgeons Dr. Raja Flores and Dr. Andrea Wolf, mesothelioma specialists at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.

“Over the years, I’ve seen the devastating effects of mesothelioma,” Wolf said. “I am grateful to ADAO for the opportunity to share this on a large scale at this weekend’s meeting.”

Livestreaming the event is free, but registration is required.

Friday features the Arts, Advocacy and Action Festival, focused on the impact storytelling has on raising awareness of toxic asbestos and preventing exposure.

David Boraks, a journalist with WFAE, the National Public Radio affiliate in Charlotte, North Carolina, will deliver the keynote address. Boraks’ reporting has documented higher levels of asbestos exposure in poorer communities.

Others scheduled to speak include Tony Rich, an industrial hygienist and environmental technician; Lee Loftus, a former insulator/asbestos worker; and Fernanda Giannasi, a civil and safety engineer.

Academic Panel Discussions Offer Opportunities to Learn

Saturday will feature an academic conference highlighted by four 90-minute panel discussions that include many of the experts who have gathered for the event.

ADAO Saturday Panel Discussions
Session I

Progress and Challenges from the Frontline, with moderator Dr. Celeste Monforton.

Session II

Medical Advancements: Diagnosing and Treating Mesothelioma and Other Asbestos-Related Diseases, with moderator Dr. Arthur Frank.

Session III

Prevention: Legacy Asbestos: What is it? Where is it? What Do I Do? with moderator Richard Lemen, Ph.D.

Session IV

Global Ban Asbestos Action, with moderator Brent Kynoch.

Wolf, who will be receiving the prestigious Dr. Irving Selikoff Award for her commitment to the cause, will be part of the Medical Advancements session. Dr. Melissa McDiarmid will also receive the Selikoff Award.

Dr. Raja Flores to Speak on Legacy Asbestos

Thoracic surgeon Flores will be part of the Legacy Asbestos session, which is particularly pertinent to ADAO, whose recent lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is pushing the country closer to an asbestos ban.

The lawsuit led to a court order for the federal agency’s current ongoing evaluation of the risks posed by legacy asbestos, a key topic for Saturday.

With asbestos highly regulated today in the U.S. and no raw asbestos being mined or imported into the country, legacy asbestos in the U.S. is what most people believe is the biggest threat today.

Legacy asbestos is found most everywhere throughout the U.S., particularly in older commercial and residential structures. It becomes a threat as it ages and becomes more brittle, particularly in renovation projects.

The EPA was forced to make legacy asbestos a significant part of its much-anticipated Risk Evaluation for Asbestos Part 2, which must be completed by 2024.

“Legacy asbestos is going to drive the message forward that asbestos is a known carcinogen. There is no safe level,” Reinstein said. “We must ban it now.”

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