Most people familiar with asbestos are aware that it can be toxic. However, they may not realize that it is still present in buildings constructed before asbestos use was banned in this country. It is also still used in other countries around the world – and to some extent, in the United States.
Asbestos is a fibrous material that is mined from rocks. It is very resistant to heat, fire, and electricity. These qualities make it very advantageous – and profitable – for construction companies and other industries. Some of the products it is used for include insulation, roofing, flooring, home appliances, and automobile parts.
Manufacturers use asbestos inside of building materials, and if left untouched it is thought to be safe. Problems can occur when it breaks down and releases fibers into the air. These fibers can enter the lungs and lead to health issues which may not occur until years later; in some cases, up to 50 years later.
It was not determined that asbestos was a carcinogen until long after large-scale manufacturing of it began in the late 1800s. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that asbestos exposure is associated with lung cancer and mesothelioma. They banned the use of most asbestos products in 1989, although this ruling was later overturned by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal.
The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976 gives the EPA the ability to test and restrict the use of certain chemicals, including asbestos, in this country. Asbestos is not mined in the United States, and it is regulated. Yet between 2006 and 2014, over 8.2 million pounds of it were imported here.
The EPA is now working on reforming this law, although there is still much to be done.
Mesothelioma cancer can be deadly, and asbestos is the only known cause of this potentially fatal disease. There are three kinds of mesothelioma, and each can present with a wide range of symptoms. These variables can make it quite difficult to detect. It can start in the lungs, ovaries, heart or abdomen and is often not correctly diagnosed until it is too late. Airborne asbestos fibers can also cause asbestosis, which presents as lung scarring.
Asbestos-related illnesses are mainly caused by occupational exposure, so adhering to safety rules and regulations such as wearing protective gear at work is imperative.
If you are concerned about asbestos in your workplace, do not hesitate to discuss it with your co-workers and management.
Though certain asbestos use is banned, it is also still present in older buildings. If you spend time in a residential or commercial structure that was built up to 1980, you might want to educate yourself about the risks. In many circumstances the safer choice is to leave the asbestos untouched, but this is not always the case. Never try to remove it on your own; call a professional environmental consultant.
Certain individuals are at greater risk for asbestos exposure. If you have been exposed to asbestos or other any other work-related injury or illness, contact the New Jersey asbestos lawyers at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler have represented mesothelioma patients and others experiencing asbestos-related illnesses. Let us assist you in obtaining the compensation you need and deserve. We are centrally located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and we proudly serve clients from the surrounding areas. To set up a free initial consultation, complete our online form or call us at 800-369-0899 today.