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Tester, Daines push for National Asbestos Awareness Week in April

The Western News | March 26, 2021 7:00 AM

Montana’s U.S. senators are pushing a resolution that would again designate the first week in April as National Asbestos Awareness Week.

The bipartisan motion, backed by Sen. Jon Tester, a Democrat, and Sen. Steve Daines, a Republican, urges the U.S. Surgeon General to educate Americans about the risk of exposing themselves to the toxic mineral.

When making the case for their resolution, both Tester and Daines cited the environmental disaster that resulted from the mining of asbestos-tainted vermiculite at the W.R. Grace Mine in Libby.

“We must continue to raise awareness of the dangers of asbestos to prevent what happened in Libby and Troy from occurring again,” said Daines in a statement.

“As cleanup continues in Lincoln County, this resolution will ensure more folks know about the risks of asbestos exposure, and arm them with the information they need to protect themselves from it,” said Tester in a statement.

More than 200 Lincoln County residents have died and thousands more are suffering from asbestos-related diseases. Across the nation, 40,000 Americans die from asbestos-related diseases every year as imports and use of the mineral continue, according to Linda Reinstein, co-founder of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization.

“Undoubtedly, the resolution’s momentum and the U.S. Surgeon General’s asbestos warning will raise awareness and increase prevention efforts,” said Reinstein.