Barbara Minty McQueen, the widow of famed actor Steve McQueen, along with several physicians and other experts, will make her way to Washington D.C. at the end of July to address the U.S. House of Representatives about the need to ban the import of asbestos.
Mrs. McQueen, whose husband died of mesothelioma in 1980 at the age of 50, will be representing the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, a group that endeavors to provide support to asbestos victims and their families and educate the general public about the dangers of asbestos and the seriousness of diseases such as mesothelioma.
An article in The Examiner notes that Mrs. McQueen will discuss her husband’s 1979 diagnosis of asbestos-caused cancer, how the medical community had “written him off”, and the trials and tribulations of traveling to Mexico in an attempt to find a cure for the disease. Thirty years ago, when McQueen was ill, there were few options for treating those with the disease and the prognosis for victims was always grim.
Mrs. McQueen, an author/photographer, recently penned the book “Steve McQueen: The Last Mile…revisited”, a profile of the award-winning actor’s life, including his struggle with malignant pleural mesothelioma. It is believed that Steve McQueen was one of thousands of individuals who developed the disease due to his service in the U.S. Marine Corp. During his Marine days, McQueen worked at the Washington D.C. Navy Yard, removing asbestos insulation from pipes in each ship’s hold. The job was done without benefit of any sort of mask or respirator, so asbestos exposure was commonplace among those who were employed at the shipyards of America. Many veterans have died of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.
“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. “For whatever reason, most people think that asbestos is banned in America. 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.”