Raleigh, NC (PRWEB) August 01, 2012
Men and women who work in the insulation industry in the U.S. and Canada are taking their health into their own hands by launching an organized attack on mesothelioma. Because they are often required to work around material that contains asbestos, a known carcinogen, insulators have a 1,000-fold higher incidence of malignant mesothelioma than the general population.
At their recent 30th Quinquennial Convention in Las Vegas, representatives of the Insulators Union voted to establish and fund a tissue bank to support mesothelioma research. Located at and administered by Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York, a top national research center for mesothelioma, the new Insulators Tissue Bank will make available more of the tissue samples that researchers need to help find a cure for mesothelioma. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has officially approved the tissue bank, which will be funded by Union members’ contributions of 4 cents per hour worked. Union leaders will each contribute $100 a month.
“We leaped light year ahead at this convention in building the infrastructure and funding necessary to significantly improve our workers’ health,” Union President James Grogan said in a post-convention press release. “But it is also a shift in culture as our members become smarter and more aggressive in caring for themselves as well as their brothers and sisters.”
Mesothelioma is caused almost exclusively by exposure to asbestos. Although it is a rare disease, claiming the lives of around 2,500 Americans annually, a disproportionate number of those deaths occur among people working in the building trades, including insulators, electrical workers, plumbers and anyone who works on older buildings. Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer of the membranes that surround the lungs and other internal organs. It currently has no cure.
In addition to establishing the new tissue bank, the Insulators Union voted to put in place and fund a comprehensive asbestos-diseases plan for its members, including a dedicated health fund. Labor leaders representing the AFL-CIO, the Building and Construction Trades Department, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades praised the Insulators Union for its action plan.
Surviving Mesothelioma is the premier patient-focused website for information about mesothelioma, asbestos, treatment news, and clinical resources. For more information, please visit http://www.survivingmesothelioma.com.