Think Asbestos is Banned in the United States? The Answer May Surprise You
Asbestos is a broad term that includes six mineral types composed of both thin and long crystals. Each crystal is fibrous, and thin microscopic elements called fibrils can find their way into breathable air, especially if items that contain the fibrils are disturbed.
Breathing in asbestos fibrils can result in several serious and even deadly health conditions, including:
- Lung cancer
Asbestos usage can be traced to the Stone Age, a historic period that scholars say concluded sometime between 4,000 BC and 2,000 BC. Early craftsmen used asbestos to make clay pots more durable and strong.
It took until the late 1800s for construction workers to discover that asbestos was a great insulating material. Buildings could stay warmer if asbestos was used in the construction process. Later, with the advent of electrical power, asbestos was also used as a high-quality electrical insulator.
Commercial asbestos mining began in earnest around 1870, and the Jeffrey mine in Asbestos, Quebec (now known as Val-des-Sources), became the largest asbestos mining facility in the world.
Most people, however, think of asbestos as a fire-proof substance, and it was used liberally for that purpose across the world, including the United States. Japan was also a large asbestos user as the substance was sprayed on building ceilings and walls, again, for its fire retardant and insulation properties.Health Effects Became Apparent Early
The first asbestos-related death was noted in 1906, as some early chroniclers saw an increase in lung problems where asbestos was mined. In fact, a British bureaucrat placed asbestos on a harmful substances list as early as 1902.Where Asbestos Can Be Found Today
Asbestos can exist in--but is not limited to--the following:
- Firefighter’s clothing
- Automobile brake shoes
- Vinyl floor materials
- Roofing components
- “Popcorn” ceilings
- Common caulk
- Certain filters
When the World Trade Center was destroyed in the September 11 attacks, it has been estimated that over 1,000 tons of asbestos was simply released into the air, and some researchers believe that the high death rate of 9/11 first responders was due in part to asbestos exposure.Asbestos Ban Efforts Thwarted
60 countries have banned the use of asbestos, but lobbying groups like the American Chemistry Council (ACC) have opposed a total asbestos ban claiming that “(banning asbestos) could cause immediate hardships including several shortages of chlorine, supply chain disruptions, obstacles to drinking water disinfection processes, dramatic price increases, and broad impacts to economic development opportunities.”
While there is only one asbestos type still imported into the United States, the known harmful substance can still easily be found and is not prohibited in the United States.If You Think You Have an Asbestos-Related Claim
If you, an acquaintance, or a relative feel that you have been exposed to asbestos and have possibly been injured, it is imperative that you speak to a qualified attorney as soon as possible. Some states have tight statutes of limitation for personal injury cases, and you do not wish to miss any important deadlines.
The Throneberry Law Group is dedicated to helping those with asbestos exposure issues, and the firm’s goal is your peace of mind. Call 1-888-506-1131 or go here for an instant chat with a qualified Throneberry Law Group representative.