Scientists are well aware of the health risks that asbestos poses by now. They have demonstrated a clear link between asbestos exposure and the three major diseases associated with exposure: asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma. 60 countries have banned the use of asbestos at all. In the United States, where there is no complete ban on asbestos, 10,000 people die each year from asbestos-caused diseases. An asbestos attorney may be able to obtain compensation for your injuries and suffering if asbestos exposure has harmed you.
Where You Can Find Asbestos Today
Despite bans in many developed countries, companies continue to use asbestos. In the United States, for instance, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) permits consumer products to contain trace amounts of asbestos. The EPA allows trace amounts of asbestos fibers in drinking water and workplace air.
Other products where consumers might find asbestos include:
- Roof coatings
- Flooring felt
- Disc brake pads
- Asbestos-cement products like corrugated sheets, flat sheets, pipes and shingles
- Brake blocks
- Drum brake linings
- Automatic transmission components
Asbestos also remains in products that pre-date asbestos bans and concerns. Many homes and buildings that construction companies built before the 1970s may contain asbestos in their attic and wall insulation. If you suspect your home may contain asbestos, several tips to follow are:
- Avoid damaging or disturbing the asbestos material
- Have asbestos professionals examine, test and eventually remove or repair the areas where asbestos may be
- Avoid doing even minor repairs yourself
- Do not track asbestos (the fibers are almost always invisible to the naked eye) throughout the house
The Asbestos Lobby Remains Powerful
A group of international journalists discovered that asbestos lobby groups have spent almost $100 million since the mid 1980s to continue the sale and use of asbestos-containing products. These groups contribute money and resources to researchers who publish scientific journal articles supporting the continued use of asbestos.
While asbestos use may be winding down in developed countries, it is unfortunate that the lobby groups have targeted developing countries. For example, even though Canada does not use much asbestos itself, it exported 168,000 tons of asbestos in 2009, most of which went to India. Countries like Mexico, China, Russia, and Brazil continue to use asbestos widely.
The World Health Organization estimates that 125 million people continue to encounter asbestos in the workplace. According to the United Nations, 100,000 workers worldwide die each year from asbestos exposure. By 2030, some experts estimate five to ten million total deaths worldwide as a result of asbestos. Asbestos use is never safe. If you or a loved one suffers from an asbestos-related disease, contact a mesothelioma attorney at the law firm of Cappolino, Dodd, and Krebs, LLP.