On the House side, Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN) has introduced the companion legislation as The Bruce Vento Ban Asbestos and Prevent Mesothelioma Act of 2007 (H.R. 3339).
Former Minnesota Congressman Bruce Vento died in 2000 from Mesothelioma, likely caused by minimal contact with asbestos while working in factories as a young man. Vento represented Minnesota's Fourth District from 1977 to 2000.
At the Meso Foundation's Gala Dinner, following the bill's Senate passage, Congressman Vento's widow, Meso Foundation Board Member Sue Vento, presented the Foundation's annual Bruce F. Vento Hope Builder Award to Congresswoman McCollum. The Congresswoman's remarks were both heartfelt and resolute: "To me, this is more than a bill -- it's a cause. Too many Americans don't know that asbestos exposure remains a problem in this country. So what we need to do is educate -- and then legislate."
Asbestos is so deadly that there is no known safe level of exposure. Even a tiny bit of fiber can cause disease. Studies show that asbestos exposure kills up to 10,000 Americans each year.
Those at risk include everyone from U.S. Navy veterans, workers in shipyards or demolition, brake mechanics, roofers and cement masons, to workers' families and homeowners doing renovations. Exposure to asbestos can cause a variety of cancers, with Mesothelioma being the deadliest. Asbestos- related diseases usually do not manifest until decades later, at which point they develop rapidly. Most Meso patients die within two years of being diagnosed.
Meso Foundation Executive Director Chris Hahn emphasized that the legislation not only bans asbestos, but provides the beginning of a federal investment in medical research for Meso.
"Meso's latency is as long as 50 years, so today milli
|SOURCE Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation|
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