Philadelphia, PA (PRWEB) September 24, 2012
The advocacy efforts of a Berkeley Heights, NJ woman who survived mesothelioma for more than 10 years has prompted the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation and N.J Work Environment Council to designate Sept. 26 as Mesothelioma Awareness Day in the U.S.
Although she has undergone six surgeries, multiple rounds of chemotherapy and radiation in a span of nine years, she continues to educate the community about mesothelioma. Anderson has been recognized numerous times for “ … raising awareness about asbestos-caused mesothelioma by getting bills passed in New Jersey and Congress to designate September 26 as Mesothelioma Awareness Day and for winning a landmark lawsuit against ExxonMobil for secondhand exposure to asbestos.” Anderson continues to receive bipartisan support as an advocate for patients and research funding to fight the disease.*
What Causes Mesothelioma? Mesothelioma is a fatal form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos in homes and many other places.** The asbestos industry boomed during the Industrial Revolution when companies began mining and manufacturing the material for fire retardant coatings, concrete, insulation, fireproof drywall, flooring, roofing, drywall joint compound and other uses. In the early 1900s, researchers began to notice a connection between asbestos exposure and early deaths from lung problems.***
Since then thousands of people continue to die from mesothelioma, sometimes suffering for years before becoming aware they have the disease. Symptoms generally do not appear for 20 to 50 years after someone was exposed to asbestos.**
Because of the strong link that still exists between asbestos and cancer, employers of people who work around asbestos have the responsibility of ensuring they are not over-exposed. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) provides comprehensive requirements for all occupational exposures of asbestos to ensure that employees work as safely as possible around the material. According to OSHA regulations, “Each employer shall perform initial monitoring of employees who are, or may reasonably be expected to be exposed to airborne concentrations at or above the TWA permissible exposure limit and/or excursion limit.” When asbestos exposure is unavoidable for employees, OSHA requires that “each person entering a regulated area shall be supplied with and required to use a respirator.”****
However, an estimated 1.3 million construction employees face significant asbestos exposure on the job and are at serious risk of acquiring mesothelioma. At the same time, the U.S. imports 33 percent more asbestos products than in previous years.*****
These factors are hurting our chances of stopping the painfully short mesothelioma life span from devastating more families each year. Bonnie is an unusually long survivor, because the average life expectancy of a mesothelioma patient is one year. She was diagnosed with malignant peritoneal mesothelioma in 2002, but her strength and perseverance helped drive her to advocate for mesothelioma patients everywhere.* By bringing awareness to the disease and its causes, people like Anderson will hopefully bring an end to mesothelioma someday.
As advocates for mesothelioma patients all across the United States, everyone at Anapol Schwartz law firm in Philadelphia respects and honors Ms. Anderson's achievement. She has spoken as we do for a sector of society that is all too often forgotten.