3:43 PM EDT
Danny Davis, D-IL 7th

Mr. DAVIS of Illinois. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I might consume.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of House Resolution 1149, commemorating April 2008 as National Sarcoidosis Awareness Month.

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, tens of thousands of Americans nationwide are afflicted with this disease. However, currently, there is no cure, no definitive identification of exactly what causes sarcoidosis, no known measures to prevent it, and many people who have sarcoidosis do not exhibit any symptoms. So one might ask the question, what is sarcoidosis?

Sarcoidosis is characterized by the inflammation associated with the production of tiny lumps of cells in various organs of our bodies called granulomas because they look like grains of sugar or sand. These grain-like cells grow and clump together in an organ, affecting how the organ works.

[Time: 15:45]

The increase of these growths can inflame vital organs like the lung, brain, skin, eyes and nervous system, causing seizures, blindness, disfiguring lesions, heart failure and sometimes even death.

Sarcoidosis is overrepresented among African Americans compared to other races and ethnic groups, and afflicts African Americans more severely than other races in this country.

By documenting the prevalence of sarcoidosis among fluorescent light bulb workers in the 1940s and among U.S. Navy deck grinders, and recognizing that sarcoidosis disproportionately affects factory workers and was the first diagnosis for an overwhelming majority of rescue workers in New York after the September 11, 2001, attacks, researchers at the American Lung Association have uncovered a link between certain types of occupations and this disease.

More careful monitoring of a sarcoidosis diagnosis can dramatically improve public health, including the health of civilian and military workers. It is my hope that by passing this legislation, we will promote more careful examination and investigation of sarcoidosis diagnosis, and lead to the reduction of morbidity and mortality of workers, as well as reduce costs.

By supporting House Resolution 1149 designating April 2008 as National Sarcoidosis Awareness Month, we as the House of Representatives of these United States of America will demonstrate our acknowledgment of and commitment to the importance of raising awareness for the purpose of uncovering the causes of sarcoidosis disease, environmental and otherwise, and the promotion of strategies to support and protect our thriving workforce. I urge passage of this resolution.

I reserve the balance of my time.