Tennessee Woman Turns Activist After Husband Dies From Mesothelioma

A Hamilton County, Tennessee woman is happy she takes part in an organization that pushed for a new law that may help to ban asbestos completely, but the law didn’t come before she lost her husband to mesothelioma.

Wendy Roberts mesothelioma

The Times Free Press reports that Randy Roberts, a former carpet maker who once worked in areas that were permeated with asbestos fibers, passed away in September 2011 from “The Monster,” the name he gave to his mesothelioma disease. After his death, his widow, Wendy Roberts, vowed to do all could to completely ban asbestos, a naturally-occurring mineral that produces tiny, odorless fibers that can become trapped in the body, leading to life-threatening illnesses.

During his battle with mesothelioma, Randy looked like he may actually get better after his tumors stopped metastasizing in 2010. In fact, despite having to carry an oxygen tank to breathe, he went to the John Stallworth Foundation Golf Tournament that year in Alabama, where he played all 18 holes.

It was only short-lived, however. Within a few months, he was attacked by a tumor so severe that he ended up in the hospital, diagnosed with cardiac arrest. Wendy recounted the early morning when she heard the news.

“I fell into such a dead sleep, I never heard the phone or my sister banging on my window. At 4 p.m., I woke up and got a call from family saying Randy was in cardiac arrest.”

She rushed to his hospital room, but it was too late. She held his hand, and although he had no pulse, she thanked him for the short time they spent together. He was only 56.

Working to Ban Asbestos

Although the hazards of asbestos have been studied in-depth and proven to be toxic to human health, it still isn’t completely banned. This is actually unknown to many people, who believe that since it’s a known carcinogen, it’s illegal. Not quite, at least not yet.

Earlier this year, President Obama signed a bill on dangerous substances, which will give the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) more freedom to one day ban asbestos completely.

After her husband’s death, Wendy joined the  Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), a non-profit organization that aims to spread awareness about asbestos and fight for its complete ban. According to Linda Reinstein, the founder of the organization,

“The ADAO’s goal is to eliminate consumer and occupational exposure to asbestos.”

ADAO’s determination is part of what helped signed the new law into place, which pushes stronger regulations on chemicals found in everyday items. It also gives the EPA much stronger tools to monitor substances, and more power to deregulate harmful chemical and toxins. Per EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy,

“The updated law gives EPA the authorities we need to protect American families from the health effects of dangerous chemicals. And at EPA, we’re excited to get to work putting it into action.”

The EPA is scheduled to start monitoring and reviewing asbestos, formaldehyde, flame retardants, and seven other substances that are commonly found in household items, most of which families using the products are unaware of. For instance, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) Action Fund recently found asbestos in several different brands of children’s crayons.

Asbestos Lawsuit

Prior to his death, Randy, along with Wendy, filed a mesothelioma against his former carpet making employer in 2009. Although the company tried to push his asbestos exposure off on other companies, it was ultimately proven that his  disease stemmed from his time working as a carpet maker.

The company eventually settled with the Robert out of court for an unspecified amount. Wendy recalled how each attorney for the defendant apologized to her after the deposition phase of the case.

“After the deposition, each carpet company lawyer walked by me as he left and each said, ‘I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry’ very softly.”

Wendy feels happy that she helped take part in something that may lead to the toxic mineral’s complete ban, but she’s saddened that it didn’t happen years ago, which could have saved her husband’s life.

Help and Assistance for Mesothelioma Victims

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be eligible for substantial compensation. There is currently over $30 billion in asbestos trust funds, set up for those who are victims to asbestos-related diseases. Use our free Asbestos Attorney Locator Tool today to find a leading mesothelioma attorney in your area. For additional assistance, contact us at 800-793-4540.

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