Throughout the past century, asbestos had been manufacturers’ favorite material, with more than 4.000 products containing the mineral at the time. By World War II, asbestos-containing materials were found in American ships, planes, vehicles, factories, hospitals, schools and homes across the nation. Later on, asbestos showed up in products everywhere, from fireproofing and fire prevention materials to drug store cosmetic counters.
There is mounting evidence showing that asbestos-containing products have been responsible for a number of asbestos exposure incidences. According to the EPA and the Department of Health and Human Services, there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos. Inhalation of airborne small fiber-like particles is detrimental to human health, already being demonstrated that all forms of asbestos are carcinogenic to humans. Epidemiological studies have shown that exposure to asbestos may cause a number of severe lung diseases, some even fatal. Lung cancer causes the largest number of deaths related to asbestos exposure, around 4,800 deaths per year. Asbestosis, another primary disease associated with asbestos exposure, is a non-cancerous respiratory disease usually disabling or fatal. Evidence suggests that cancers in the esophagus, larynx, stomach, colon, ovaries, prostate, and kidney can also be caused by asbestos exposure.
The fight to ban asbestos in the U.S. has been a long journey. In the second half of the 20th century, American health authorities became aware that asbestos is carcinogenic. In the coming decades, asbestos seemed to resist U.S. legislation.
Asbestos is still not banned in the U.S. Unfortunately, the use of this toxic mineral in all asbestos-containing products marketed before 1989 is still legal and continues to pose immense risks. Furthermore, asbestos-containing products continue to be manufactured even today.
In 2018, EPA released a significant new rule proposal (SNUR) which would allow the agency to prevent new uses of asbestos-containing products. The SNUR, a mechanism within the Toxic Substances Control Act, requires manufacturers to notify the EPA before asbestos is used in ways that might create concerns.
Potential new uses for asbestos subject to SNUR:
Critics of the proposed rule say that the agency’s actions aren’t as protective as they should be despite an apparent increase in regulation. Health advocates maintained that this rule can lead to more cases of asbestos exposure.
Despite knowing its harmful aftereffect, asbestos is still used in some U.S. industries. There is a wide range of prominent sectors using asbestos products today, including:
Asbestos was used in almost every public and commercial building constructed before the 1980s in the U.S. Asbestos could be in any part of a building, from floor tiles to rook sheets, toilet seats to wall panels. Working in and around these buildings presents a risk of asbestos exposure for homeowners and professional tradespeople. Persons who intentionally or unwittingly disturb asbestos-containing materials can cause asbestos fibers to be released into the air, putting anyone who inhales these fibers at risk of developing debilitating asbestos-related diseases. People who renovate or demolish buildings that contain asbestos may be at significant risk, depending on the nature of the exposure and precautions taken. Due to the significant risks associated with unlicensed asbestos removal, it is recommended to contact a certified company to help you remove asbestos-containing materials in a safe manner.
Gregory A. Cade is the principal attorney at Environmental Litigation Group P.C., a reliable law firm focused solely on asbestos exposure cases. His expertise and reputation in these cases derive from a successful track record that spans more than two decades. Gregory A. Cade work consists in representing injured victims and their families with the purpose of obtaining substantial recoveries.