April 4, 2011 – The Senate recently passed a resolution, sponsored by Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), declaring the first week of April as “National Asbestos Awareness Week”. The resolution seeks to “raise public awareness about the prevalence of asbestos-related diseases and the dangers of asbestos exposure.” In addition, this is the first year that the annual resolution recognizes this week as “Global Asbestos Awareness Week”. The international activities will incorporate education, advocacy and community-driven efforts aimed at a worldwide ban on asbestos. The week’s endeavors will also seek to provide resources and support to asbestos victims and their families.
Senator Baucus was instrumental in urging the EPA to declare a public health emergency in Libby, Montana, following the documentation of extensive deaths and illnesses linked to W. R. Grace and Company’s asbestos-contaminated vermiculite mine in the town. “Asbestos Awareness Week is a rallying cry to keep the tragedy of Libby from happening again. It’s also an opportunity to remind people that much more work lies ahead to help victims of asbestos-related diseases,” said Baucus.