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Senator Murray's Statement on Asbestos Awareness Day

(Washington, D.C.) – To mark today's observation of Asbestos Awareness Day, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash), a leading advocate of banning asbestos, released the following statement.

"For decades, asbestos has been a silent killer, taking the lives of tens of thousands of Americans. Asbestos Awareness Day is an opportunity to warn the American public about the ongoing dangers that asbestos poses and a chance to spur our government to finally take action. I commend Senator Harry Reid for introducing Senate Resolution 43 designating April 1, 2005 as 'National Asbestos Awareness Day.'

Like many Americans, I assumed that asbestos had been banned long ago, but it was not. While 30 other countries have banned asbestos, the United States still exposes its residents to asbestos in more than 3,000 common household products, including hair dryers, floor tile, automobile brakes and attic insulation.

We can stop this tragedy and save lives by banning the production and importation of asbestos into the United States and by educating the American public about the deadly consequences of asbestos exposure. I have introduced legislation in the U.S. Senate to ban the production and importation of asbestos in America and to provide funding for research and treatment, as well as an education campaign to alert the American public to this deadly killer.

Many Americans are unaware of the danger in their own homes. For example, more than 30 million homes, schools, and businesses have dangerous Zonolite insulation in their attics. Homeowners often expose themselves to asbestos when they use their attics or renovate their homes.

It's especially tragic that many asbestos victims devoted their lives to build and defend our country. For 50 years, America’s industrial and building trades workers, Navy personnel, and government workers were exposed to asbestos in their jobs. Even worse, every workday these proud men and women unknowingly carried asbestos home to their families on their clothes and in their hair – putting their loved ones at risk of contracting mesothelioma.

Today organizations such as the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (MARF), The Committee to Protect Mesothelioma Victims (CPMV), the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) and the Asbestos Victims Organization (AVO) have stepped forward to lead the way to a safer and healthier nation.

After generations of ignoring warnings and failing to protect American workers, we owe it to past and future victims of asbestos to recognize their lives, their sacrifice, and our commitment to both treat and end the scourge of this tragic material."

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