Asbestos Awareness Week 2015

Late last week, the Senate passed Resolution 125 to designate the first week of April as National Asbestos Awareness Week. Sponsored by Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., Sen. Jon Tester, D-MT, and Sen. Steve Daines, R-MT, the resolution asks that people take time to learn about the dangers of asbestos and even calls on the Surgeon General to “warn and educate people about the public health issue of asbestos exposure, which may be hazardous to their health.”

While Asbestos Awareness Week runs from April 1-7, the effect of educating oneself and sharing information with loved ones will have a lasting impact. Share these facts and calls to action with your loved ones to bring awareness to the dangers of asbestos.

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally-occurring microscopic mineral that can be a health hazard when it’s in a friable, or crumbled or broken, state. When asbestos becomes friable, it becomes airborne and can be easily inhaled. When asbestos is inhaled, it’s sharp and rigid fibers stick in soft tissue in the respiratory system and can lead to the development of mesothelioma cancer.

Where is asbestos found?

Asbestos is a mined mineral, but it can be found above ground naturally too. Because of it’s desirable commercial uses, asbestos was used liberally in the construction of homes, schools and other commercial and industrial buildings. Asbestos was once used in over 3000 consumer products, including common household items, some of which may still be in use today.

Who is at risk for exposure to asbestos?

Asbestos exposure was generally thought to be a risk only to workers on jobsites where asbestos was once used or is currently being used, like construction sites for example. However, secondhand exposure can occur to loved ones when workers who come into contact with asbestos carry the fibers home on their clothing. Military veterans, teachers working in older school buildings, people who renovate older homes, firefighters, people living in areas with naturally-occurring asbestos and many others are also at risk for exposure to asbestos.

Health conditions associated with exposure to asbestos

What can you do to support Asbestos Awareness Week?