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The 16th Annual International Asbestos Awareness and Prevention Conference takes place Sept. 17-18, featuring 40 speakers from seven countries plus the first-ever Art, Advocacy and Shared Stories film festival.
This virtual event is open to all free of charge, requiring only an online registration. It is designed to educate the public about the dangers of asbestos, intensify efforts to ban asbestos, and aid in research to improve treatment for asbestos diseases, including mesothelioma cancer.
Sponsoring the event is the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, an independent nonprofit regarded as the world’s leading asbestos advocacy group.
The theme for 2021 is “Where Knowledge and Action Unite.”
“This is a conference for everyone, not just the medical community,” Linda Reinstein, president and co-founder of ADAO, told The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com. “It’s a one-stop shop to really immerse yourself, to find the best information on prevention, treatment and action.”
Asbestos Experts Unite for a Cause
Mesothelioma survivor Julie Gundlach will deliver the keynote speech on Friday, the day of the film festival. The films will include “The Mother,” by Paolo Monico; “Breathless,” by Daniel Lambo; and “Dirty Laundry,” by Conor Lewis and Zack Johnson.
All involve the asbestos industry, the dangers of asbestos exposure and mesothelioma cancer.
Rebecca Reindel, director of occupational safety and health for the AFL-CIO, the largest federation of labor unions in the U.S., will deliver the keynote address on Saturday. She is a longtime advocate for improving working conditions in blue-collar jobs, including stronger protection from the threat of toxic asbestos fibers.
Reindel has testified before Congress and conducted research for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Wendy Ruderman will also be among the featured presenters. She co-authored the recent series in The Philadelphia Inquirer, “Toxic City: Sick Schools,” that won numerous awards and was nominated for a Pulitzer. The series details the asbestos problems and unsafe conditions of numerous Philadelphia schools.
Saturday Panels to Include Mesothelioma Survivors
There are four in-depth sessions planned for Saturday, each with a panel of experts. They are:
- Session I: Progress and Challenges from the Frontline
- Session II: Medical Advancements: Diagnosing and Treating Mesothelioma and Asbestos-Related Diseases
- Session III: Prevention: What is it? Where Is It? What Do I Do?
- Session IV: Advocacy: Global Ban Asbestos Action
Each of the sessions will include at least one mesothelioma cancer survivor sharing their individual story.
Thoracic surgeon and mesothelioma specialist Dr. Raja Flores of Mount Sinai Hospital will present through a pre-taped video from New York City, where he is a mayoral candidate.
Most of the experts have been part of this annual gathering for many years, developing close relationships with ADAO and Reinstein, who co-founded the organization 17 years ago.
“Our goal is to prevent exposure and eliminate asbestos disease,” Reinstein said. “The work that I do, I stand on the shoulders of giants.”
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