Is Asbestos Banned in the U.S.?
From a technical standpoint, asbestos is subject to stringent regulations and is seldom found in new homes, buildings, and consumer goods. Government guidelines permit ambient (environmental) air levels below 0.1 fibers per cubic centimeter. Consequently, property owners with asbestos-containing materials may not be required to remove them unless the fiber levels become significantly elevated. These regulations also extend to the prohibition of asbestos mining, as detailed below.
While some nations have banned asbestos, the United States has not followed suit. Even if U.S. legislators were to enact such a ban, it may not provide compensation to victims of asbestos exposure, particularly those who develop mesothelioma and other severe illnesses. Seeking compensation typically requires the expertise of a nationwide asbestos lawyer who can navigate legal avenues, including non-judicial bankruptcy victim compensation fund claims.
Mining activities related to asbestos were prohibited domestically in 2002, safeguarding the well-being of miners and industrial and construction workers. This prohibition, however, led to an increase in the cost of asbestos, as imported products tend to be pricier than domestically produced ones. Despite the higher cost, the demand for this hazardous substance remains significant, with major producers like Russia, Kazakhstan, Brazil, and China exporting substantial quantities annually.
The latency period for mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses exceeds fifty years. Therefore, individuals exposed to asbestos during domestic mining activities before the ban might not exhibit symptoms until at least 2050.
Private buildings, especially those constructed before 1980, often contain asbestos due to a historical cover-up by large companies such as Johns Manville, Owens Corning, and Federal-Mogul. Although asbestos is occasionally still used in private construction, compliance with regulations, which includes extensive efforts to seal asbestos during construction, makes its use cost-inefficient for most companies.
In the 1990s, U.S. lawmakers prohibited asbestos in schools and public buildings, necessitating the cessation of its use in new construction and the removal of existing asbestos. Asbestos removal is a costly process, requiring skilled workers to utilize proper personal protective equipment and handling techniques. Despite these precautions, there is a risk of unintentional fiber release into the air, potentially affecting individuals, including schoolchildren.
While the intention behind the public building asbestos ban is commendable, it may inadvertently lead to more victims. A nationwide asbestos exposure lawyer not only advocates for robust statehouse regulations but also champions the rights of victims in the courthouse.
For individuals seeking significant compensation due to asbestos exposure, the Throneberry Law Group offers free consultations with experienced nationwide mesothelioma lawyers.