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Mesothelioma Victims Wait for Decision on Asbestos Ban


Over the years, the legal use of asbestos has been a major issue among advocates and mesothelioma victims. Decades have passed since asbestos was deemed hazardous, yet the substance is still not illegal in the United States.

Not all companies can mine or use asbestos. Mining asbestos was outlawed nationally several decades ago, and the final asbestos mine closed down for good in 2002. Most businesses no longer use the substance or would even consider using it if it was available. However, asbestos can still be imported, therefore, it is found in a variety of consumer goods, including some car parts, fertilizers, and materials commonly used in construction.

Since 2019, legislation has been on the table to finally ban asbestos. Nevertheless, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has not taken the step of banning asbestos as of late summer 2020. Consequently, many people remain at risk of being exposed to asbestos without their knowledge, and the public may not realize that limited asbestos use is still lawful.

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is found in the earth and has properties that makes it resistant to excessive heat. Asbestos was previously used to make cloth, clay vessels, shrouds, apparel, and cookware. Asbestos use began to grow in popularity because asbestos could be mass-mined and utilized in mass-produced goods. Plus, it was available in large quantities and it was cheap to obtain.

What Products Contain Asbestos?

Asbestos was used extensively to fulfill a variety of purposes. Some common items that contained asbestos included:

  • Textiles
  • Insulation
  • Pipes
  • Children’s toys
  • Christmas decorations
  • Cement sheets
  • Military ships
  • Cigarette filters

Although production and distribution of most asbestos-containing products stopped in the 1970s, or began to at least phase-out during the decade, plenty of asbestos existed in residential and commercial properties around the country.

Additionally, a lot of historic products made from asbestos may still be sold in antique shops or at garage sales. When broken or destroyed, like in fires or during demolition, asbestos falls apart and becomes airborne, which is where it begins to pose huge risks to humans.

Are There Any Alternatives to Asbestos?

Since there are many new technologies, innovations, and discoveries, manufacturers are not limited to only choosing asbestos. Many alternative products can be used in place of asbestos to produce viable items, such as the following:

  • Cellulose fibers
  • Flour-based filler
  • Polyurethane
  • Silica
  • Plastics
  • Epoxies

These alternatives do not pose carcinogenic risks to workers, making the products less risky for the consumers using them.

What is the Link Between Mesothelioma and Asbestos?

A vein of asbestos in a rock formation is not dangerous to humans as long as it is undisturbed. The problem comes when asbestos fibers come loose, such as through mining operations. Asbestos fibers are invisible and can be easily swallowed or inhaled. When asbestos dust reaches the stomach or lungs, the fibers anchor to the walls of the organs.

Asbestos fibers do not leave the body and only continue to accumulate. People with lengthy exposure to asbestos dust or those who were once exposed to large quantities of airborne asbestos are at risk of developing mesothelioma. Other illnesses that are caused by asbestos exposure include pleuritis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and asbestosis.

Who is at High Risk of Developing Mesothelioma?

Most people will not develop mesothelioma. Those who develop mesothelioma usually worked in occupations that consistently exposed them to asbestos. Retired miners and construction workers make up a large percentage of mesothelioma legal cases.

Also, men tend to develop mesothelioma more frequently than women because male workers statistically worked more often in the occupations closely linked to asbestos exposure and mesothelioma.

It should be noted that not everyone who has mesothelioma will get it from first-hand closeness to working with asbestos. Spouses and children of people who worked around asbestos, as well as residents who lived near active asbestos mines, may be diagnosed with the cancer due to second-hand exposure. Since it takes a long time for asbestos fibers to cause mesothelioma, many people who were exposed to asbestos feel fine until they begin to experience symptoms.

How is Mesothelioma Diagnosed?

Diagnosing mesothelioma is difficult because many symptoms mimic symptoms of other illnesses, so it is critical to get tested early. Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that kills nearly 3,000 people annually. Since mesothelioma attacks the stomach, lungs, or both organs, many of the earliest warning symptoms appear in those areas. Consequently, mesothelioma patients often complain of difficulty breathing, chest pains, severe coughing, extreme fatigue, abdominal pain, and unexplained weight loss.

Doctors diagnose mesothelioma by running tests that typically involve gathering images, such as X-rays and MRIs. Physicians may also order biopsies of tissues they suspect may be damaged and diseased. Their goal is to rule out mesothelioma from other asbestos-related problems.

What is Mesothelioma Treatment Like?

There is no known treatment for mesothelioma. Some treatment options for mesothelioma include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, lifestyle changes, painkillers, and other pharmaceuticals and devices. Surgeries may also help relieve some of the issues related to mesothelioma if patients are healthy enough to go through operations.

Why is Asbestos Use Still Legal in the United States?

It seems implausible that asbestos use is still legal, especially with all the knowledge that society and science has about the dangers of asbestos. Many advocacy groups and legal practitioners who help mesothelioma victims believe that big business interests are keeping the EPA from putting a ban on the substance.

What is the Future of Asbestos Legislation?

Many advocates are pushing for the government to finally put an end to allowing any kind of asbestos manufacturing or usage in the United States. Many people hope that Congress will put pressure on the EPA to finally ban this material.

Can Mesothelioma Patients Recover Damages?

Anyone who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma has a right to seek damages. Records show that plenty of employers knew that they were exposing their workers to harmful asbestos and did not warm them. Some companies not only hid this information from their employees, but failed to provide them with personal protective equipment (PPE) to give them any line of defense against breathing or ingesting asbestos dust.

Many mesothelioma victims have received significant compensation to cover not just their medical expenses, but the pain and suffering they currently have and will most likely endure long-term. Patients usually work with a mesothelioma lawyer to ensure that they are building solid cases. Mesothelioma attorneys stay up to date on legislation and case law, using their expertise to win fair awards for their clients.

Philadelphia Asbestos Lawyers at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler Advocate for Mesothelioma Victims

Asbestos is extremely dangerous when it is inhaled. Many advocates and mesothelioma victims are waiting for an asbestos ban. If you were recently diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact one of our Philadelphia asbestos lawyers at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler. Our lawyers help mesothelioma victims and their families. Complete our online form or call us at 215-569-4000 for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including Delaware County, Chester County, and Philadelphia County.