Barbara “Minty” McQueen, widow of mesothelioma victim Steve McQueen, traveled to Washington D.C. last week to join the fight for an asbestos ban in the U.S.
Steve McQueen, a popular movie actor dubbed “The King of Cool” died after a battle with mesothelioma more than 30 years ago. His widow spent last week advocating for an asbestos ban and speaking at Capitol Hill.
Minty was in Washington as a representative of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO). She lobbied for the Safer Chemicals Act of 2012, which was discussed in a key Senate Committee last Wednesday.
Steve McQueen was 50 years old when mesothelioma took his life in 1980. In an effort to preserve her privacy, Minty, who was 27 at the time, stayed quiet about the fact that Steve’s death was tied directly to asbestos exposure earlier in his life.
“Putting Steve’s name and face to the cause (of banning asbestos), that made my day here,” she said during a telephone interview. “I want people to know how awful this disease is. It took my man away, stripped him from me. If there is anything I can do to help, I’m here to do it now.”
Minty was joined by Dr. Richard Lemen, former assistant surgeon general, Brent Kynoch, an expert in the field of asbestos abatement, Barry Castleman, environmental consultant and the founder of the ADAO, Linda Reinstein.
In April, Mrs. McQueen accepted a memorial tribute in Steve’s name at the ADAO annual convention. At that time, she swore to use her husband’s celebrity to bring greater attention to the asbestos problem in the United States and across the globe, commenting, “If he were alive today, he’d be kicking some serious ass over this. Unfortunately, he didn’t live to tell about it. I guess that’s where I come in now.”