Statement by the U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek H. Murthy on National Asbestos Awareness Week 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: OASH Press Office
National Asbestos Awareness Week is April 1-7 – a good time to remind Americans about the health dangers of asbestos exposure. Asbestos, a natural mineral fiber that is found in rock and soil, was widely used as insulation and fireproofing material in homes, commercial buildings, ships and other products, such as paints and car brakes. In recent years, asbestos use has decreased dramatically after it was linked to illnesses, including lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis.
Because of its use in so many products, asbestos is still of special concern for anyone who works in construction – or who might be in a position to disturb asbestos found in older homes, buildings or equipment. The danger comes from inhaling the tiny fibers or dust released into the air once asbestos has been disturbed or damaged.
Workers who may be exposed to asbestos – including first responders and those involved in home repair or demolition projects – should protect themselves from asbestos exposure.
If you think you have been exposed to asbestos, I encourage you to speak to your health care professional.
For more information on asbestos – including sources on safe removal – please check out these resources:
- National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Asbestos Exposure and Cancer Risk
- Learn About Asbestos from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- Asbestos Information from Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Workplace Safety & Health Topics: Asbestos
- Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Asbestos in the Home
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