Each year, nearly 3,000 American families receive the devastating news that a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, a rare and often fatal form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure. It has no cure and is completely preventable, making awareness of the disease and its deadly cause vitally important. On Sept. 26, 2020, we do just that as we observe the 17th annual Mesothelioma Awareness Day.
Asbestos History in America
Asbestos is a toxic mineral made up of fine, durable fibers found in nature and mined for use. Companies used it throughout the 20th century because of its cost-effectiveness and resistance to heat. It was regularly used in building materials and commercial products, putting both workers and consumers at-risk. Those at the highest risk for exposure include Naval servicemen and anyone who worked in the following trades:
- Plumbers and pipefitters
- Textile workers
- Railroad workers
Family members were also exposed to asbestos when their loved ones carried home fibers on their hair, skin, and clothes. Even laundering clothes with traces of asbestos on them is considered dangerous.
Even though they knew how dangerous asbestos could be, companies continued to use it with no regard to the safety of their employees, putting millions of lives in danger.
Asbestos is Deadly, but Everywhere
No amount of asbestos exposure is safe. Even so, asbestos-containing materials and products can be found everywhere, even today.
Knowing how deadly asbestos can be, 55 countries worldwide have banned its use – but not the U.S. has failed to do so. It remains the only developed country to have not yet imposed a complete ban on asbestos. It is still used in products today.
Nearly 40,000 people in the U.S. die each year from asbestos-related conditions. Even if someone is exposed even once, that exposure can still lead to a mesothelioma diagnosis 20-50 years later. Only 5-8 percent of mesothelioma patients live five years after their initial diagnosis.
Mesothelioma is responsible for cutting short the lives of countless people and devastating the families left behind. It is with them in mind that we heed the call to raise awareness and support.
Doing Our Part to be the Change
Mesothelioma Awareness Day is an opportunity for all of us to spread awareness of mesothelioma and the inherent dangers of asbestos exposure. Engaging in conversations, asking questions and pledging your support are all important steps in preventing mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. Your voice can be the difference. Here are some other ways you can help:
Wear Blue in Solidarity
Blue is the official color of Mesothelioma Awareness Day. Show your support by taking photos of yourself, family, friends, and colleagues wearing blue and posting them (with permission) to social media using the hashtag #curemeso.
Sign the Petition
Join thousands of other concerned citizens and sign the petition to ban asbestos in the United States.
Show Your Support on Facebook
Add the Mesothelioma Awareness Day 2020 frame to your Facebook profile picture. Click “update” on your profile picture, then “add frame,” search “Mesothelioma Awareness Day 2020,” and then “use as profile picture.”
Make a Donation
Donate money to a mesothelioma research initiative or charity that helps victims and work to find a cure. Most donations are tax-deductible.
Whatever you decide to do, know it will make a difference.