Surviving, then conquering. Heather Von St.James takes it to Washington.

As the year comes to an end, I have had time to think about the things I want to change. I'm not talking about resolutions or personal growth, I'm talking about the bigger things- like worldwide policies on toxins, pollution, and chemical regulation. 

This may seem out of ordinary for a  post on Hungryhippie. . .
It's usually all sewing and happiness here. 
Recent events have made me decide that once a month I will write about a current issue close to my heart, usually health related since I myself am a nurse. I cannot stand idle and wait for change- we have to push for change ourselves. If only for our children, and their children...

What do I know for sure? --- I know for sure the toxins in our environment and in the food we eat contribute to our health in ways we have yet to discover. It's no secret that money rules-and corporations are seldom held accountable for the toxins poured  into OUR environment. Did you know that cancer-causing asbestos is still legal in the US? Thousands of tons of it is imported every year. (Actually 2.3 million pounds in 2013 alone, according to the Center for Public Integrity.) Unbelievable right? 

“We’ve known for decades that safer substitutes exist,” said Linda Reinstein, president of the California-based Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization. “We’re facing a public health crisis where more than 30 Americans die every day from preventable, asbestos-caused diseases.” 

My friend Heather Von St. James, a mesothelioma survivor, is taking the call to Washington. Please take a moment to read her compelling story of survival and perseverance, against all odds, and her continuing dedication in educating our leaders so they will ban asbestos once and for all.


An excerpt from Heather's website: "Justice has no timeline. Whether a life was lost to mesothelioma 10, 30 or 50 years ago, the problem remains: asbestos is still legal and lethal in the United States. This is a travesty. We are one of two industrialized nations who have yet to put a ban on this toxic substance. We still import and consume tons of it. Most recently, it was found to be in children’s crayon sets and a fingerprinting kit sold by dollar stores, party stores, and popular toy retailers throughout the US. Innocent children are being exposed to asbestos, for no other reason than it’s a cheap and accessible additive."

This sounds familiar, doesn't it? Remember the decades of leaded gasoline? A known, proven toxic substance that was added to gasoline to improve combustion, cheap and widely available,--and sold by corporations that lobbied Washington for decades.  

There are so many people out there fighting the cancer battle, it seems every time I turn around there is someone else who has received their diagnosis. When I read Heather's story I instantly was connected. Rather than be defeated--this cancer diagnosis pissed her off. And rightly so-it was entirely preventable. 


What can you do to help?

1. Call for legislation banning the use and import/export of all asbestos materials. Write a letter to your Congressman/Congresswoman.
2. Raise awareness of  mesothelioma, as the odds for survival are so low. Talk about it, post it on Facebook, share this post and Heather's blog. Pin it. Tweet it.
3. Support the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization and the Environmental Working Group-to educate and inform until Congress will listen and ban asbestos.



Too many lives have been lost already.
Let's stop the import and use of this toxic substance. 

From 1999 to 2013, the years for which data are currently available, we have estimated the number of deaths from asbestos exposure in the U.S. at 189,000 to 221,000 people, or 12,000 to 15,000 deaths a year (Figure 1). Those figures are based on a review of federal records of deaths from diseases caused exclusively by asbestos, plus a calculation using a formula developed by international cancer researchers to estimate the number of lung cancer deaths likely caused by asbestos (CDC 2015, McCormack 2012).
Asbestos kills 12,000 to 15,000 Americans each year.

"The feeling of loss is hard to explain, but it’s perhaps one of our most universal experiences as humans."


Call for Action with links:

Here you can sign the READ Act. The Reducing Exposure to Asbestos Database (READ) Act (S.700) introduced by U.S. Senator Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) would create an online database to inform consumers about asbestos-containing products and where they might be located in communities across the country.

Here you can tell President Obama to ban this toxin.  Americans shouldn’t be exposed to this deadly substance. We need you to take action right now. Tell the White House it’s time to demand real toxic chemical law reform and a stop to all asbestos imports.

HERE you can sign the asbestos-free crayon pledge. Recent tests commissioned by EWG Action Fund have found traces of asbestos in four samples of crayons. In addition to Amscan Crayons, most of them are sold under the names of children’s characters including Disney Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Saban’s Power Rangers Megaforce. 

No one should be exposed to this deadly substance, especially not young children who are 3.5 times more likely than a 25-year-old to develop mesothelioma, a deadly lung disease that is only caused by asbestos. 

Thanks for being here friends. Every signature counts. Every action makes a difference. 

Everything matters.

1 comment:

  1. I had NO IDEA that asbestos was still legal and still used in the US. I mean, WHY? Ugh! Thanks for raising awareness about this!


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