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Senator Specter Breaks Promise to Mesothelioma Patient and Research Community

Santa Barbara, CA

June 29, 2005

The mesothelioma research community today expressed great disappointment in Senator Arlen Specter's reluctance to provide additional funding for mesothelioma research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). "Mesothelioma patients and individuals exposed to asbestos count on research dollars to provide hope for better treatments and survival. Mesothelioma patients and asbestos-exposed citizens need advocates in government. This development is disappointing for the mesothelioma research community," said Dr. Harvey Pass, the chairman of the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation's Science Advisory Board.

As Senator Specter, head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, crafted final language for the Fairness in Asbestos Injury Act (S. 852) last month he included an amendment establishing a mesothelioma research and treatment program. The amendment called for Congress to appropriate $12 million annually to NIH to fund this program. In a public/private partnership, the amendment also called for a contribution from industry through the settlement trust fund in the amount of $17 million annually.

"In order to detect this disease earlier as well as formulate novel strategies, we must use every means necessary to increase our research portfolio for mesothelioma," Dr. Pass elaborated. Currently, NIH funds only $2.8 million in mesothelioma research annually, which is less than 1/10 of 1% of its annual budget. Mesothelioma claims more than 4,000 lives a year. Approximately 30% of victims are U.S. veterans exposed to asbestos while in service to this country.

As head of the appropriations subcommittee that funds biomedical research at NIH, Senator Specter is in the unique position to make this funding a reality. When the Senate returns from Fourth of July recess, it is expected to take up the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education appropriations bill. While the patient and research community eagerly wait for funding, Senator Specter has indicated that he will not include additional funding for FY 2006 as outlined in the Asbestos Injury Act.

"Mesothelioma is a deadly cancer. Patients have a life expectancy of between 6 and 18 months on average. Each appropriations cycle that goes by without additional funding costs lives. On behalf of clinicians and scientists who care for these victims every day, I urge Senator Specter to consider all options to increase research funding for mesothelioma, and not to squander this window of opportunity for these unfortunates," said Dr. Pass, who operates on over 50 mesothelioma patients every year.

MARF is the national nonprofit organization whose mission is to eradicate mesothelioma as a life-ending disease. For more information, see http://www.marf.org/ or contact MARF Executive Director, Christopher E. Hahn, 805-560-8942, c-hahn@marf.org.



Front Page, Week Of:

4/16/05: Spectre to Introduce U.S. Asbestos Bill This Week

5/22/05: Individuals Injured by Asbestos Exposure Oppose Specter's Trust Fund Legislation

10/16/05: Victim's Organizations Form Asbestos Victims Coalition in Opposition to Asbestos Trust Fund Legislation

11/17/05: White Lung Mourns Jose Jesus Pessora

12/18/05: Frist Introducing Asbestos Bill in January

12/04/06: Asbestos Watch Newsletter: Help Celebrate the 27th Anniversary of the WHITE LUNG ASSOCIATION

Jim Fite's Alerts:

Asbestos Victim's Superfund Compensation Program

Asbestos Watch March 14, 2005 (Maryland chapter of the White Lung Association meetings)

Directorate of Safety, Health, and Environment (open letter)


Joe Oliver's Alerts:

Joe Oliver, National Board Member and former President of the White Lung Association, has issued a call to all persons to help gather evidence on the conspiracy by asbestos trade organizations to suppress the knowledge about the hazards of asbestos exposure.

If you know anything about this horrific history or have documents which can be used to further prove their heinous crimes, please contact Joe Oliver, WLA, POB 1483, Balt. MD 21203.

Leonard Makowski's Alerts:

The White Lung Association stands in opposition to The Specter Bill (S.852)

WLA Alerts & News

S.1115: Bill to amend the Toxic Substances Control Act to reduce the health risks posed by asbestos-containing products - This bill is supported by the WLA.

Meet Mr. Asbestos

Proceedings of the Asbestos Symposium for the Asian Countries - now available for purchase.

Australia Bans Asbestos!



Senator Specter Breaks Promise to Mesothelioma Patient and Research Community

Senate Judiciary Committee returns to Mark-Up on May 11th: Proposed asbestos trust fund legislation will further penalize victims of asbestos-caused diseases


World Trade Center Health:

In May 2003, the Global Environment & Technology Foundation developed the "Asbestos Strategies" report.

British Asbestos Newsletter:

The latest issue is Spring 2005


News from India:

The latest issue is January 4, 2007



December 17, 2000 is Asbestos Hazard Awareness Day


Current Projects:

Asbestos Museum


Articles & Publications:

Occupational Respiratory Diseases: Asbestos Associated Disease -- Reprinted from: Maxcy-Rosenau Public Health and Preventative Medicine 11th ed. (John M. Last, Ed.) 1980, Appleton-Century-Crofts

Asbestos Victims Deserve Compensation Not Betrayal: position release by the Board of Directors, White Lung Association



In Memoria:

Paul Safchuck May 21, 2003

Dr. William Nicholson Dies at 70

Ray Sentes Brave Fighter For Asbestos Victims

For more information please contact info whitelung org.