Ninth Annual Asbestos Disease Awareness Conference

Mesothelioma lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm announce that, over this past weekend of March 22, 2013, the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) held its ninth annual conference in Washington D.C. The conference was entitled “The Asbestos Crisis: New Trends in Prevention and Treatment,” bringing together asbestos experts, physicians, patients, caregivers, and international advocates.

The three-day event included a powerful panel of speakers and variety of group discussions and seminars, all centering on four central topics: asbestos advocacy, medical advancements, and the further prevention and worldwide ban on asbestos.

The ADAO was founded by Linda Reinstein in 2004 when her husband was diagnosed with mesothelioma. Her husband eventually lost the battle to cancer, and Linda channeled her grief into advocating for all victims of asbestos exposure. The conference allows many of these victims to share their stories, meet with others who have been down a similar path, and gain knowledge about the most recent medical advancements, treatments, and prevention methods. Due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy on public health, Linda added an additional topic to the weekend’s itinerary, which was to discuss the dangers associated with natural disasters and the release of toxic substances.

The ADAO is now the largest independent asbestos organization in the country, advocating on behalf of asbestos victims around the world. Among guests present at this year’s conference included the Senior Medical Advisor to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Capt. Aubrey Miller. Another speaker, Karen Banton, is the widow of late asbestos advocate Bernie Banton, and is CEO of the Bernie Banton Foundation, which offers support, information, hope, and encouragement to those suffering from an asbestos-related disease and their families.

Of major importance not only at the conference but to industries all over the world, was the controversy surrounding the use of chrysotile asbestos. Often referred to as ‘white’ asbestos, chrysotile is not yet included in the United Nations’ List of Hazardous Substances, although the other fiber-forms of asbestos are. This lack of inclusion is due in no small part to influential lobbying groups active in countries around the globe, who are arguing that chrysotile is less dangerous than the other fiber-forms in the interest of large corporations.

This argument was sparked and is supported exclusively by parties with major interest in keeping asbestos mining, production, and exportation a global commodity. Today, over 50 countries have passed a collective ban on asbestos – including chyrsotile – because of the health epidemic the substance has created.

This issue was illuminated at the ADAO conference by Dr. Arthur L. Frank, who is the chairman of occupational and environmental health at Drextel University. His speech was entitled “ASIA: Diagnosing and Treating Asbestos-Related Disease.” Most recently, Dr. Frank aided Israeli officials with the cleanup and disposal of asbestos throughout the nation. He has traveled extensively across India and Southeast Asia, where asbestos exposure is widespread.

Particularly in China and India, the use of chrysotile asbestos is unchecked and rampant. Because of this, by 2030, Dr. Frank and other experts project there to be a catastrophic spike in mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses, such as asbestosis and pulmonary lung disease. Other countries projected to share this spike in illness are Russia, Brazil, and other developing counties in Southeast Asia.

It typically takes between 20 and 50 years after initial exposure to asbestos for victims to start showing signs of illness. The symptoms, however, are often insidious and mistaken for other, less serious conditions, like pneumonia. The lack of state-of-the-art detection methods and treatment plans contributes to the high death toll – asbestos-related disease take the lives of more than 100,000 people worldwide and 3,000 Americans annually.

What is so devastating about these illnesses is that they are entirely preventable, and large asbestos companies knew about the dangers to employee health as far back as the 1930s. Due to this injustice, thousands of victims have filed asbestos exposure lawsuits against former employers who knowingly and negligently exposed them to the harmful substance. Mesothelioma lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm have decades of experience advocating for these victims and their families. If you or a loved one was diagnosed with mesothelioma, or any other asbestos-related illness, you have important legal rights, and may be entitled to compensation.

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