Congress designates Sept. 26 as National Mesothelioma Awareness Day

December 22nd, 2010

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a resolution designating September 26th as National Mesothelioma Awareness Day. The new bill urges the President to issue a proclamation calling for the observance of National Mesothelioma Awareness Day by government agencies and other private organizations.

Mesothelioma is a deadly form of cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos. Once commonly used for building construction and in other heat-resistant materials, the use of asbestos in the United States has been severely restricted since the 1970s, when the link between asbestos and mesothelioma cancer became widely known.

The House bill—sponsored by Congresswoman Betty McCollum of Minnesota—is the counterpart to a similar resolution passed by the Senate in 2009. Introduced by Washington Senator Patty Murray, the Senate bill was the first to call for a nationwide recognition of National Mesothelioma Awareness Day, which has been recognized in numerous local resolutions passed in previous years.

Rep. McCollum stated that her efforts to pass a resolution designating a national day of recognition for mesothelioma awareness were inspired by the story of her friend and former colleague, Congressman Bruce Vento. Rep. Vento died of mesothelioma in 2000, only nine months after he was diagnosed with the disease.

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