Many people assume that asbestos has been banned from commercial, industrial, and military use, but the truth is that the substance, often used as an insulation, is merely so heavily regulated that it is “effectively” banned. Federal regulations put in place since the 1970s have essentially outlawed use of asbestos by making it extremely difficult to obtain approval from the federal government for approval of new uses of the substance.
However, that does not mean innocent people are still not suffering harm from asbestos exposure. Only a few dozen countries have complete bans on asbestos and several others are beginning to increase their exports of the mineral to emerging markets worldwide. Thanks to a new rule that went into effect in June, the U.S. could soon allow new uses of asbestos to be studied and possibly grow the market here.
That rule came to an amendment of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) which prohibits manufacturing, processing, and distribution of commercial asbestos as well as asbestos-containing mixtures and articles used for other purposes. While the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maintains the changes to the TSCA only allow the agency to monitor the development, use, and disposal of dangerous substances, including asbestos, critics worry it would open the door to revive asbestos usage.
Fortunately, some in Congress are working on initiatives to finally completely do away with asbestos in the U.S. The Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act of 2019 would amend the TSCA to prohibit the manufacturing, processing and distribution of commercial asbestos as well as asbestos-containing mixtures and articles used for other purposes. Linda Reinstein, wife of the late Alan Reinstein, says the bill has received bipartisan support, and she is optimistic about its chances of passing.
Furthermore, the bill would require the EPA, Department of Health and Human Services, and the Labor Department to conduct a comprehensive report that would assess the “presence of asbestos in residential, commercial, industrial, public, and school buildings” as well as “the extent of exposure and risk to human health associated with the asbestos present in such buildings.” Even to this day, each year thousands of people in the U.S. receive a diagnosis of an asbestos-related cancer.
Even when asbestos was legal to use, companies already knew of the risks associated with exposure to the substance but provided no warnings to innocent people who came in contact with the carcinogen. As a result, hundreds of thousands of people were exposed to deadly asbestos over a period of decades, with many developing mesothelioma, a rare and deadly type of lung cancer associated with asbestos exposure.
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If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help pay for your medical treatment to help you and your family live a more comfortable life.