Think asbestos is currently a banned substance in the United States? Think again.
Sadly, many Americans think that this is a health problem from the past, but it’s possible to actually find it in many common places. This known carcinogen has killed about 15,000 Americans every year, so it is clear that this remains a real threat.
What are some common hiding places for asbestos? Let’s take a look.
One common household substance used around the world is talc. In fact, you probably recognize the name. It’s a soft mineral and is used in many products, including ceramics, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.
While it was once thought to be harmless, it has been raising red flags of late because of the risk of asbestos exposure in the way talc is mined.
Asbestos-related disease has been seen in those who have worked or mined with talc, and although companies producing personal care products claim their product is asbestos-free, legal outcomes awarding millions of dollars in damages to women who have used talcum powder has raised the profile of this once-innocuous practice.
Do you enjoy bowling on Friday nights with your family? Like you, many people associate bowling with having fun. But what they might not know is that historically, bowling balls were commonly made from fiberglass and asbestos.
Those who were making the bowling balls were put at risk because they were drilling holes into the balls. When the new balls were put onto the ball racks for everyone to use, there is a probability that asbestos was released into the air or even deposited on the user’s fingers.
It’s important to note that modern bowling balls aren’t made with asbestos, but it is not uncommon to encounter bowling balls that have been used for decades which may still contain traces of this substance.
Books and Bindings
Are you surprised that books are on this list?
The New York Times recently published a blog about some books being printed with asbestos in the binding; famously, copies of certain ‘incendiary’ books were intentionally bound in asbestos material, ostensibly to keep them from being burned in the future.
While it may sound alarming, this is not the first time that books have been bound using asbestos. In fact, in the mid 1900s, reports show that bookbinders were commonly exposed to asbestos.
Shockingly, asbestos was recently discovered in crayons and other types of children’s toys, and not for the first time. Through a variety of independent tests, asbestos fibers were discovered in 4 of the 28 types of crayons tested.
Sadly, children who are exposed to asbestos are 3.5 times more likely than the average 25 year-old to develop mesothelioma.
Crime Lab Science Kits
That crime lab kit may not be so innocent. Like crayons, crime lab kits targeted at children were discovered to have asbestos.
In fact, 2 of the 21 kits tested contained it. This discovery, along with the crayon findings, makes it the third time in the last 15 years that asbestos fibers were discovered in children’s products.
On a more disturbing note, crayons and crime scene kits are not the only kids’ toys that can contain asbestos. In some recent reports, modeling clay has been found to contain the dangerous substance.
While airborne asbestos is a main source of concern, undisturbed asbestos such as can be found in these types of children’s products also has dangers. Children can be prone to putting crayons or clay in their mouth which puts them at risk.
Tiles, Wallboard, Roofing and Siding
It is commonly known that asbestos was used in building products in the past, but could it still be lingering in your home?
Because of their durability, strength, resistance to acids, friction, and heat, asbestos fibers do not break down easily, so if your home was built more than 25 years ago it is possible that it contains this dangerous substance.
Tiles, siding, roofing and wallboard are all at risk of containing asbestos; before attempting any kind of repair or renovation yourself you should seek the advice of a knowledgeable professional.
Spackling and Patching Compounds
Other types of construction materials also may present a risk. Common construction compounds such as patching, taping and spackling can contain asbestos. This also includes joint compounds, putties, caulking, adhesives, popular ‘duct’ tapes and thermal taping.
It seems odd given all these instances of exposure, that asbestos is not banned in the United States. It came close in 1989 when the EPA issued a regulation that banned most uses of asbestos.
With this, it was thought that an end was in sight for the manufacturing, processing and distribution of the products that contain it. However, this is clearly not the case as the carcinogen is still being found today in a wide variety of products, mostly those that are imported from other countries without strong oversight.
If you or someone you love have developed mesothelioma, you may be surprised to learn where the exposure to asbestos occurred. Our firm specializes in this area of law, and we’ve assisted many Louisiana families in taking legal action when necessary. Contact us today for the expert advice you need.