For decades, the health hazards of asbestos have been well documented. There is overwhelming medical evidence that asbestos exposure has directly caused thousands of deaths and health problems related to cancer over the years. In fact, it is estimated that 3,000 Americans die from an asbestos-related diseases, such as mesothelioma, every single year.
Despite these numbers, the substance is still not banned from use in the United States. While it is no longer routinely used in building materials, it is still found in a number of common household products. This common exposure has health care experts concerned that we are introducing new generations of Americans to this deadly carcinogen.
Asbestos Use in the United States
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fiber that was commonly used in building materials as early as the 1930s. Since it was introduced, a variety of building materials were manufactured containing asbestos, including insulation, roofing, siding, and textured paint because of its durability, strength, and resistance to fire.
However, the fibers were also carcinogenic, and in 1977 it was banned as a building material in the United States. In the 1980s, schools across the country began removing asbestos from their insulation, pipes, and boilers.
While the U.S. government recognized the dangers of asbestos, they didn’t outright ban the substance. Instead, they sought to reduce the occupational risks to workers first by concentrating their regulatory efforts on high-risk professions. In 1989, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned asbestos in manufacturing, importation, processing, and sales. However, the chemical industry in the United States lobbied hard against this ban and it was successfully overturned in 1991.
In 2016, Congress and the Obama administration enacted the Toxic Substance Control Act to give the EPA more control over regulating asbestos and other dangerous and hazardous chemicals but little has changed. It is still routinely used by the U.S. industries and present in over 30 million homes. It is even found in popular consumer products like makeup and children’s toys. Since 2011, the United States has imported more than 6,000 tons of asbestos from countries around the world.
The Dangers of Asbestos Exposure
Even if you aren’t exposed to asbestos in your career, you may be exposed from other contact, sometimes referred to secondary or family exposure.
Any exposure to asbestos can potentially be deadly. While the body can get rid of some fibers, others can get stuck in our body tissues. When asbestos fibers become stuck in our lungs, this can lead to inflammation and cellular changes, such as cancer. Mesothelioma is one such cancer caused by asbestos exposure.
Mesothelioma is a type of lung cancer that doesn’t show up for 15 to 50 years after exposure. This makes it incredibly difficult to diagnose and even harder to prove causation. Individuals who have been exposed to high levels of asbestos in their careers or homes must have an experienced mesothelioma attorney on their side. Together they will need to fight aggressively to clearly establish that a decades-old exposure to asbestos has led to their current health problems.
Have You Been Diagnosed with Mesothelioma? We Can Help!
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is important to speak to a Louisiana mesothelioma attorney as quickly as possible. The statutes of limitations in the state of Louisiana are quite short for mesothelioma patients, so do not delay. Without an attorney on your side, you may not be able to obtain the compensation you deserve.
Landry & Swarr, a New Orleans mesothelioma law firm, has conducted extensive research on the impact of occupational and secondary exposure to asbestos. If you or a family member feel that you may have contracted mesothelioma due to contact with asbestos, call 504-299-1214 and speak to one of our attorneys about your legal options.