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Firsthand and Secondhand Asbestos Exposure: The air we breathe might not seem to be at the forefront of one’s mind, as we expect it to be free and clean of toxins. This, however, is not a perfect world and the environment is prone to have its flaws. One flaw is asbestos and its tricky fibers that fill the air around us, oftentimes without us knowing. Asbestos exposure is actually more common than people realize, and even today those who have been exposed might not know it.

Silent but Potentially Deadly

Asbestos exposure is no joke. Exposure to asbestos particles can cause such diseases as asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma. At least eight million Americans have had sufficient exposure to asbestos, either through firsthand exposure at work, or using commercial products containing it, or through secondhand exposure such as cleaning the clothes of someone who is exposed to a significant amount of asbestos.

Money does not grow on trees, nor does it appear out of thin air. For victims of asbestos exposure, it is very costly to undergo treatment. Each claim is different, but at the very least, there are medical bills that need to be paid. While the asbestos trust funds (worth an estimated $30 billion) are designed to compensate the victims, the FACT Act would require more paperwork and could actually end up delaying the compensation process.

As it stands, getting compensation is anything but instantaneous. The asbestos-related trust funds are not actually controlled by the companies that went bankrupt. Rather, the funds are in the hands of a designated “trustee” who makes decisions as to what the standards are and what the compensation will be. For instance, the claimant will have to show evidence of the asbestos related injury, but depending on the trustee for the company, the claimant might have to satisfy certain medical criteria. When it comes to the FACT Act, the information that a claimant gives is subject to public review.

Facts and Figures of the FACT Act

The use of asbestos in products was extremely prevalent during much of the twentieth century. Unfortunately, as a result of this, exposure to dangerous asbestos fibers was also common. For some individuals, this exposure led to the development of serious diseases. While mesothelioma is often the disease most associated with asbestos fiber exposure, there are other very serious diseases that can develop, as well.

Dangers of Asbestos

Asbestos was used in residences and buildings up until the 1980s because of its resistance to heat. While asbestos was very well-suited for the jobs it was asked to complete, it also was very dangerous to people exposed to its fibers. These microscopic fibers are released into the air when asbestos is disturbed. When breathed in, they may remain in the lungs for years or, in some cases, decades, before the signs of a health issue begin to appear. While asbestos is no longer used today, it still can be found in homes and other buildings, particularly in older structures.

Asbestos in Electrical Panels

As the use of electricity entered every home and building throughout the 1900s, safety measures also had to be put into place. For much of the twentieth century, this involved the use of asbestos. Unfortunately, exposure to microscopic asbestos fibers can lead to the development of serious diseases such as mesothelioma and asbestosis.

Making Electricity Safe

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