Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Steve and Barbara McQueen, circa 1978.

Barbara Minty McQueen, alongside the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), will speak at the U.S. House of Representatives staff briefing, “Asbestos: Environmental and Occupational Exposure Continues” in Washington, D.C. on July 24th to discuss how asbestos took the life of her husband, actor Steve McQueen, and why the U.S. should ban asbestos.

On July 25th, ADAO is hosting a press conference where McQueen will discuss her late husband’s December 1979 diagnosis as well as the physical and emotional pain he endured as a result of trying to find mesothelioma treatment in the U.S. and Mexico. McQueen, author/photographer and former model, will unveil her newly published Steve McQueen: TheLast Mile…Revisited, which details her life with her husband, the late silver screen icon, Steve McQueen - including his battle with mesothelioma. Linda Reinstein, ADAO Co-Founder, will discuss the consumer, environmental, and occupational exposure in USA.

Mesothelioma is a horrible disease. It robbed me of my life and future with Steve and took away an icon beloved by millions around the world,” said Barbara McQueen. “Most people think that asbestos is banned in America but that’s not true. I want to ask President Obama and Congress to get off the bench, get in the game, and immediately ban the importation and use of asbestos,” stated McQueen. “By coming to Washington, D.C., I want to bring awareness that asbestos is still legal in the U.S. and continues to kill. It can kill a movie star, a musician or a construction worker. It takes no prisoners.”

Known as cinema’s ‘King of Cool,’ Steve McQueen was a proud veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps from 1947 to 1950. He believed he contracted mesothelioma as a result of removing asbestos-filled insulation from the massive pipes in a ship’s hold while working in the Washington, D.C. Navy Yard. It is also possible the actor and racing enthusiast was exposed to significant amounts of asbestos on New York and Hollywood sound stages or in his protective racing suits and helmets.

Tragically, Steve McQueen, an American legend, lost his life at age 50 to a preventable asbestos-caused disease. The facts are irrefutable and the United States Surgeon General, Environmental Protection Agency, the World Health Organization, and International Labour Organization agree, asbestos is a human carcinogen and there is no safe level of exposure,” said Linda Reinstein, ADAO Co-Founder. “History is a great teacher to those who listen. Asbestos is still legal and lethal in the United States. Although asbestos has not been mined in the United States since 2002, the United States imported 1,100 tons of chrysotile asbestos to “meet manufacturing needs” just through July 2011. Presently, the only two ways to eliminate environmental and occupational asbestos-caused diseases are prevention and a cure. One life lost to an asbestos disease is tragic; hundreds of thousands of lives lost is unconscionable.”

More than 30 years ago, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) declared asbestos to be a human carcinogen. The World Health Organization estimates the mineral, regardless of the type, causes 107,000 preventable deaths each year around the world.

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