The U.S. Senate has designated the first week of April as National Asbestos Awareness Week to call public attention to the carcinogen’s risks.

This comes in the form of a resolution — Senate Resolution 145 — which cleared the Senate March 25 by unanimous consent and with no changes, according to congressional records.

The approved resolution sets April 1-7, 2021, as the official dates to “raise public awareness about the prevalence of asbestos-related diseases and the dangers of asbestos exposure,” according to its text.

It also urges the Surgeon General “to warn and educate people about the public health issue of asbestos exposure” and instructs legislative staff to send a copy to the Office of the Surgeon General. Unlike laws, resolutions don’t require approval from both houses of Congress, nor do they require the president’s signature to take effect.

The resolution was introduced in late February by its sponsor, Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), and cosponsors Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D.-R.I.).

Armed With Knowledge

“This resolution will help ensure more folks know about the risks of asbestos exposure, and ensure they’re armed with the information they need to protect themselves from it,” Tester said in a Feb. 23 release extolling the resolution’s introduction.

“We need to work together to ... shed a light on the serious medical implications of asbestos exposure,” Danies said in the same release.

“This resolution will help ensure more folks know about the risks of asbestos exposure, and ensure they’re armed with the information they need to protect themselves from it.” — Sen. Jon Tester

The resolution’s passage was cheered by at least one asbestos awareness group.

“We are grateful to Congress for passing this resolution and once again putting the dangers of asbestos exposure on the national radar, but we must do more,” said Linda Reinstein, head of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, in a March 26 release extolling the Senate’s move. The group advocates a total ban on asbestos imports and usage.

2020 was the first year not to feature National Asbestos Awareness Week since 2006, congressional records show. Presumably, this was due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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