Top Four Asbestos Control Laws and Regulations
Since the 1970s, lawmakers and rule-makers have enacted various laws and rules that control asbestos. But, a partial ban in 1989 is the closest the United States has come to a total asbestos ban. Asbestos is usually illegal in new construction projects. But half the nation’s homes were built before 1980. Asbestos was regularly used back then. Therefore, most demolition and renovation workers are highly at risk for exposure.
Additionally, diseases like mesothelioma have such a long latency period that many workers who were exposed before 1980 are just now showing signs of illness. Bringing a case to court after so many years is challenging, to say the least. In addition to evidence problems, these cases involve some additional legal hurdles. So, only the most experienced nationwide mesothelioma lawyer should handle such matters. Otherwise, the victim will probably settle for less.Clean Air Act
This 1971 law, which has been amended several times, did not specifically mention asbestos. However, it did set air quality standards and created the Environmental Protection Agency. These two moves greatly shaped the future of asbestos laws and rules in the United States.
The Clean Air Act defines the EPA’s responsibilities for protecting and improving air quality. It also includes provisions for the EPA to set national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants, including asbestos.
High-level policy at the EPA is subject to change, as high officials are political appointees. However, the Civil Service Act applies to most EPA workers lower down on the ladder. Usually, these workers are committed to environmental quality. Furthermore, the CSA prohibits their firing, at least in most cases. So, when the political winds change direction, the change usually doesn’t affect most EPA regulations.OSHA Exposure Level
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, another federal government agency, established specific asbestos air quality standards.
This legal standard is important to nationwide mesothelioma lawyers. If an air quality test showed that the asbestos level was above 0.1 fibers per cubic centimeter of air, the defendant was negligent as a matter of law.
As a result, the negligence per se doctrine could apply. In these cases, attorneys do not need to establish the standard of care and prove the defendant breached the standard of care. Instead, an asbestos exposure trial basically skips straight to the damages portion.
Damages in a toxic exposure case usually include compensation for economic losses, such as lost wages and medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as loss of quality of life and pain and suffering. Punitive damages are usually available in these matters, as well.Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act
Local education agencies must inspect their school buildings to ensure there is no asbestos in them, have a plan for what to do if they find asbestos, and carry out those plans to eradicate existing asbestos hazards. AHERA covers public school districts and non-profit private schools, including charter schools and schools affiliated with religious institutions (collectively called local education agencies).
Despite the AHERA, asbestos in schools is still a problem. The federal government ordered inspections but did not pay for them.Mining Ban
A 2002 asbestos mining ban affected supply and demand. Plenty of imported asbestos is still available, mostly from Russia, but this mineral is not as plentiful as it once was. Lower supply raises the cost, and in most cases, higher cost reduces demand.
The supply/demand cycle is circular. As demand goes down, imports go down, creating a lower supply and higher cost that decreases demand.Contact a Diligent Attorney
Mesothelioma victims need and deserve significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced nationwide mesothelioma lawyer, contact the Throneberry Law Group. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.