Mined and used commercially, asbestos has strong fibers resistant to heat, fire and chemicals that do not conduct electricity. Once viewed as a perfect building material with a reasonable cost, research shows that asbestos is toxic. The use of asbestos in products has declined dramatically since the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) implemented asbestos restrictions in its 1973 National Emission Standards for Asbestos policies and procedures due to the public health risks. The EPA has banned all new uses for asbestos since 1989.
Asbestos is considered a cancer causing substance in humans when harmful levels of asbestos fibers are inhaled. When products containing asbestos get disturbed, as in demolition or construction, tiny fibers are released into the air, inhaled and trapped in the lungs. Accumulated fibers in the lungs can lead to serious health conditions such as mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis. Asbestosis is inflammation affecting the lungs that includes shortness of breath, coughing and permanent lung damage.
Recently the Office of Inspector General (OIG) released a report that recommends the EPA alter its policy that allows building demolition without the removal of asbestos products. Potentially hazardous fibers can be disturbed and released into the environment threatening public health from contaminated wastewater and soil when asbestos products are not removed prior to destruction. OIG proposed four modifications to the policy: evaluate the potential health risk of wastewater; issue a technical report available to the public; implement timely and necessary actions based on the report; and share and enforce the regulatory changes.
The EPA shares the OIG’s concern for public health risk and the EPA acting assistant administrator agrees that the policy amendment regarding demolition is unclear and needs updating and revision. The project is to be completed by April 2016.
Low levels of asbestos are present in the air, water and soil and most people do not become ill. Asbestos was used widely in many industries and those exposed to it on a regular basis have an increased risk for asbestos-causing health conditions. Philadelphia asbestos lawyers acknowledge that the building, construction, shipbuilding and automotive industries have prominent asbestos use. Mining, milling and textile manufacturing of asbestos fibers are woven in materials such in insulation, plastic, drywall and roofing products. Many workers, including military, have been known to have long-lasting health problems as a result of asbestos exposure.
At Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler, we are dedicated to assist you and your family in gaining financial compensation if diagnosed with mesothelioma or health ailments related to asbestos exposure. It is important for your future to obtain medical and financial benefits you may be entitled to for lung conditions, cancer or asbestosis. Philadelphia asbestos lawyers at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler are knowledgeable and skillful litigators for asbestos claims in Pennsylvania and New Jersey with offices located in Philadelphia. To discuss the confidential details of your circumstances, fill out an online inquiry or call 1-800-369-0899.