Over the past 5 years Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash), has been working on very important piece of legislation called the Ban Asbestos in America Act. The number of annual deaths from mesothelioma has increased from 153 in 1968 to 1,969 in 2004 and is expected to peak at 2,450 between 2011 and 2015. Professor Julian Peto, chairman of epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, has estimated around 90,000 people will die from mesothelioma and a further 90,000 from asbestos-related lung cancer over the next 15 years..
From its inception Beasley Allen has supported Senator Murray’s work and has sought language for the bill that would make provisions for mesothelioma research funding. Several key figures were on Capitol Hill today to testify before Senate Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety. Their testimony will help push this legislation forward.
Dr. Harvey Pass, Director of the Division of Thoracic Surgery at the NYU School of Medicine in New York and Chairman of the Foundation’s Science Advisory Board, testified before a Senate panel. Dr. Pass explained why asbestos exposure remains a serious threat to the health of Americans.
He told the panel “the mesothelioma victims of today built our country as pipe fitters, insulators, boilermakers, electricians and shipbuilders, among others, and a third to today’s mesothelioma victims served the U.S. on Navy ships or shipyards. Families have been destroyed by second hand fiber exposure when these heroes brought asbestos from their livelihood into their home.” Pass praised the legislation Senator Murray introduced today for placing a high priority on federal funding for mesothelioma research and mandating a collaborative effort be made among the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the Department of Veterans Affairs to find the disease in its early stages so that newer therapies can prolong patients’ lives.
Sue Vento, widow of former Congressman Bruce Vento, also testified at today’s hearing. Vento described the experience her late husband had in his battle with “mesothelioma” that took his life on October 10, 2000, just ten months after being diagnosed. Vento serves on the Board of Directors of the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation.
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