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Misconceptions Regarding Asbestos Exposure in the U.S.

This year marks the 40th Anniversary of the banning of asbestos fibers in fireplaces and wall patching compounds by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Just four years earlier, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had banned the spray application of the same. Twelve years after the CPSC ban, the EPA went further and banned many products in the United States containing asbestos. Unfortunately, the efforts have not been enough to adequately protect U.S. citizens from the dangers of asbestos exposure.

The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and Beyond

In a widely-publicized ruling in 1989, the EPA protected the public using Section 6 of the TSCA. Just two years later the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, Louisiana vacated the rule. The result was that whereas most of the public today believes asbestos to be a problem of the past, it is not.

As reported by the New York times in October 1991, the ruling by the Fifth Circuit Court generally upheld the EPA phaseout of asbestos in America, but pushed the deadlines much further into the future than was reasonable. The asbestos industry counted the ruling a victory because it claims that the product can be safely applied and contained. The article further pointed out that because of the EPA ban, new asbestos use in the nation had been reduced from previous annual levels of 560,000 metric tons to 40,000 by 1989.

Two important parts of the 1991 ruling affected automotive brake components and construction materials. The EPA banned the use of asbestos in brake drums, transmission components, gaskets, and similar auto parts subject to friction and uncontrollable release into the atmosphere. The auto industry was to eliminate these by 1993. The construction industry was to have eliminated asbestos in roofing materials, paper, pipe coatings, and more by 1996. These requirements were among those tossed by the court.

In April 2017, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released the results of a study that examined occurrences of mesothelioma and asbestos-related diseases in America. They found that although there were declines among certain groups, there are increases in others. The organization noted that diseases related to asbestos had occurred in waves, from those involved in manufacturing, to those involved in construction, to those experiencing second-hand exposure. This second-hand exposure is the result of workers bringing home fibers in their clothing because improper safety procedures are not in place where they work.

Further, the CDC noted that the U.S. Geological Survey reported that as of 2015, more than 350 metric tons of the deadly material was added to the nation each year, a vast increase from the earlier reductions. The organization believes this will lead to yet another wave of asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma.

Philadelphia Mesothelioma Lawyers at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler Fight for Victims of Asbestos Exposure

After decades of helping victims of asbestos-related diseases, the Philadelphia mesothelioma lawyers at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler know that such diseases are continuing to impact thousands each year. We see the fallout from this preventable yet devastating material. If you live in Philadelphia County, Chester County, Delaware County, New Jersey, or the surrounding area and are suffering an illness caused by asbestos exposure, we can help you recover the compensation you deserve. Contact us online or call 800-369-0899 to arrange a free consultation.