As we “go to press” this first day of April, the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) – a volunteer association of asbestos victims, family members, friends, physicians and concerned citizens – has released a powerful slideshow in support of the first National Asbestos Awareness Day.
The two-and-a-quarter minute show is narrated by a song, “Keep Me in Your Heart,” from Warren Zevon’s Grammy-winning album, The Wind. Zevon died in 2003 of mesothelioma, a form of lung cancer uniquely linked to asbestos exposure. He won the Grammy posthumously.
Many of the photographs in the show are from Bill Ravenesi’s award-winning exhibit, “Breath Taken: The Landscape and Biography of Asbestos.”
Written and directed by Linda Reinstein, ADAO’s Executive Director and Co-Founder, the show concludes by calling for an end to asbestos exposure and the protection of the right to a civil trial for asbestos victims. It asks viewers to sign an online petition and provides links to additional information and resources.
The call to protect the right to a civil trial is a political slant that runs counter to current efforts to craft an asbestos victims compensation trust fund in the Congress. In exchange for their support of a possible legislative compromise (see Asbestos Compensation Compromise Remains Elusive ), the asbestos manufacturers and their insurers are demanding that victims relinquish their right to go to court. Victims, understandably, are reluctant to make such a concession without clear and firm guarantees – as yet, not evidenced in draft legislation – that their loss will be adequately compensated. Indeed, in jockeying last month in the Senate Judiciary Committee, Republican senators won a concession that would limit restitution for asbestos victims who were also smokers, a concession widely opposed by public health experts. Democratic senators hedged on the issue by countering with an effort to get higher payments for other victims.