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6th Annual International Asbestos Awareness Conference

The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization held the 6th Annual International Asbestos Awareness Conference on April 10, 2010 in Chicago Illinois. The event was set to include discussions and speeches on topics relating to the prevention, detection and treatment of illnesses related to asbestos. Topics of available asbestos patient resources and fostering global advocacy were also discussed.

Twenty asbestos and mesothelioma experts from the United States, England, Brazil and elsewhere were scheduled to be on hand to lead the various discussions. This year's keynote speech was by Jordan Barab, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for OSHA.

The conference is meant to further boost awareness for the health hazards associated with asbestos fibers. Though the dangers of asbestos inhalation have long been known, it is estimated that at least 7,000 people die from asbestos-related illnesses globally each year (based on World Health Organization estimates).

Just as alarming, is the fact that high numbers of people continue to be exposed to asbestos in their daily lives. WHO estimates that 125 million people are currently faced with asbestos exposure in the work place or their communities. These exorbitant current exposure levels could lead to future diagnoses of mesothelioma, asbestosis and other asbestos-related illnesses years or even decades from now.

As more research into the hazards of asbestos take place, its link to potentially fatal illnesses continues to climb. In 2009, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) reported that the hazardous fiber could cause cancer of the larynx and ovarian cancer. These are just two of many cancerous illnesses linked to asbestos.

For decades, political action groups have sought to ban the use of asbestos in commercial products. Just last year, the American Public Health Association drafted a formal policy resolution that requests a global ban on asbestos. However, resistance and lobbying from asbestos companies and other interest groups continues to thwart these efforts.


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