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Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization Recognizes First Asbestos Awareness Day on April 1st - Designated by U.S. Senate

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 1, 2005--The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), an organization dedicated to serving as the voice of asbestos victims, today launched the inaugural Asbestos Awareness Day - to raise public awareness about the dangers of asbestos exposure and asbestos related diseases.
Speakers at today's press conference at the National Press Club included Ms. Linda Reinstein, ADAO Co-Founder & Executive Director; Dr. Richard Lemen, Assistant Surgeon General (Ret.); Mr. Pat Morrison, Health and Safety Director, International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF); and Mr. Jim Fite, National Secretary, White Lung Association.

At the event, ADAO outlined its vision for the next phase of awareness since the passage of Senate Resolution 43 designating April 1st as Asbestos Awareness Day. In addition, Mr. Alan Reinstein, President of ADAO and Mesothelioma survivor, honored Laurie Kazan-Allen (London, England) with the Tribute of Unity Award, Gayla Benefield (Libby, MT) with the Tribute of Hope Award, and Jill Vaughn (Keman, TX) with the Tribute of Inspiration Award.

"American writer James Thurber was quoted as saying, 'Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around in awareness,'" said Alan Reinstein, President, Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization. "This is the focus of Asbestos Awareness Day - to empower us all in the fight against asbestos with the most important weapon of all - knowledge. Asbestos and its deadly effects are no joking matter."

Individuals across the globe are participating in the first Asbestos Awareness Day through numerous targeted activities including "Reflections", an online publication, reviewing the tragic history of asbestos and providing information about preventing exposure and early disease detection, featuring an article from Dr. Richard Lemen, retired Assistant Surgeon General. Participants are also wearing blue "asbestos awareness" wristbands to recognize this inaugural event. Interested parties can learn more by visiting the ADAO website at

ADAO, an organization dedicated to serving as the voice of the asbestos victims, is seeking to raise awareness to fuel expanded education, research and treatment for asbestos related diseases. ADAO has also been active in the effort to find a fair and balanced piece of legislation that promotes the rights of victims and their families. Presently, ADAO is opposed to any bill - at the state or federal level - that does not include the correct medical criteria for testing (such as reliance on X-Rays which do not accurately reveal asbestos related cancers) and other key provisions that are needed to ensure a level playing field for current and future victims. For example, ADAO is opposed to "The Fairness in Asbestos Injury Resolution Act" - sponsored by Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) for the following reasons:

Outdated and incorrect medical criteria in the bill describing the symptoms, diagnosis and severity of asbestos related diseases
Inordinate compensation delays and ineligibility for the victims
Inadequate funding not only for research, but education, prevention and outreach

About Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization

Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) was founded by asbestos victims and their families. ADAO seeks to give asbestos victims and concerned citizens a united voice to help ensure that their rights are fairly represented and protected, while raising public awareness about the dangers of asbestos exposure and often deadly asbestos related diseases. ADAO is an independent organization funded through voluntary contributions and staffed by volunteers. For more information visit

Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO)
Douglas Larkin, 703-250-3590 x1245
Cell: 202-391-1546

Source: Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO)

Hardies urged to finalise compensation

August 17, 2005 - Legal issues are still hindering an agreement that would ensure James Hardie Industries adheres to long-term plans for compensation payments to victims of its asbestos products.

The NSW government, unions and asbestos disease victims urged James Hardie to finalise a compensation settlement for victims that could be worth up to $4.5 billion over 40 years.

It had been hoped a final agreement could be reached by the end of this month.

NSW Premier Morris Iemma said negotiators were trying to ensure the compensation fund was protected from any action that could be taken under American or Dutch law.

He said he also wanted to ensure that any future restructuring of the James Hardie group of companies in the United States or the Netherlands did not have any "flow-on consequences" for the compensation fund.

"We urge James Hardie to conclude the negotiations on an agreement as quickly as possible," Mr Iemma told reporters.

James Hardie chief executive offer Louis Gries said the company hoped to finalise an agreement as soon as possible.

Advertisement"James Hardie remains committed to establishing a compensation arrangement in accordance with the heads of agreement in the shortest possible time," Mr Gries said in a statement.

But a company spokesman expressed concern that the NSW government had raised matters in recent negotiations that had not been previously mentioned.

He said he was unable to reveal what the matters were.

James Hardie directors have requested that the final agreement include a provision releasing them from corporate civil penalties that could be enforced by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

Mr Iemma said legal advice was mixed on whether such a clause was possible and more advice was being sought.

Meanwhile, ACTU secretary Greg Combet said while the union movement was not accusing the company of using delaying tactics, it wanted the $1.5 billion compensation agreement finalised as quickly as possible.

"We want it done and we want it done quick," Mr Combet told reporters.

He said the ACTU was willing to restart its campaign against James Hardie if no agreement could be reached.

Asbestos Diseases Foundation vice president Bernie Banton, who has asbestosis, said he hoped the negotiations could be finalised soon, but he was suspicious of the company's motives.

"I just think ... leopards never change their spots," Mr Banton told reporters.

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