An Avoidable Death: Politicians Have the Power to Stop Asbestos Use

As he took odd jobs to get by, Robin Tucker’s father developed 20 fatal tumors from being exposed to asbestos, a toxic mineral that is still legal in U.S. products—including children’s toys.

This is a transcript of the video.

Robin Tucker, Cleveland: Most people think of asbestos as, oh, it's that stuff on the wall, that, you know, flakes off, and they only think of like old buildings; they're always like, oh yeah, my school has asbestos, but they don't think about the dangers of it, or that breathing it in can actually kill you.

My father, Mike Tucker, was diagnosed with mesothelioma lung cancer in 2009, and he passed away in 2011. He was actually in a minor car accident, and that's when they had to do a bunch of, like, you know, CAT scans, and MRI's.

My mom drops a bomb on me and says, "So your dad has 20 tumors on his lung," and, you know, you're never prepared to hear that. At the time, we didn't know much about mesothelioma; we discovered it was from asbestos exposure.

In his younger adult life, he worked just odd jobs to get by, so he was working as a bricklayer, and he also worked in boiler rooms.

Asbestos is really made a big impact on my family's life. A lot has changed losing our father.

When I was in college, I decided that I wanted to advocate against asbestos use. I was older, and I thought, wow, I can really make a difference. Regulations are either trying to be taken away, or weakened.

For example, asbestos is still in buildings, especially from, like, the ’70s, or earlier than that, and when these buildings are being torn down, there's regulations about how they should be torn down for the consumer safety, and a lot of people want to, you know, pass that up because of money, but it's important to the health.

People are just surprised that asbestos is still legal in the United States and that it's still in consumer products.

Asbestos is still found in children's toys, and it's crazy to think that my new niece could still be impacted by asbestos today.

Politicians can make a big impact because they're the ones who can make the regulations. Asbestos is killing people and it needs to be known, it needs to be stopped.


Two brothers tell the story of how their mother died from eating peanut butter, all from a lack of food-safety inspections.


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