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Asbestos exposure and deaths: a current overview

This blog has repeatedly observed that asbestos still poses a serious health threat, even though the material has been banned for most uses in the United States. Quantifying this health risk is not easy, but no one can deny that asbestos exposure will continue to cause serious illness and death.

The World Health Organization estimates that 125 million people around the world are or have been exposed to asbestos and that this exposure will cause 100,000 deaths each year. Measuring the impact of asbestos exposure in the United States is difficult because importation and use of asbestos is still legal, although increased regulation and litigation have greatly reduced its use. Second, most people are not aware that they have been exposed to asbestos unless they become ill from an asbestos-related disease.

The Center for Disease Control ("CDC") has published estimates that every year an average of 2,500 Americans die from mesothelioma caused by asbestos exposure. CDC critics charge that the agency has omitted persons killed by other kinds of cancer that are related to asbestos exposure. The Environmental Working Group Action Fund claims that the annual death toll from asbestos ranges from 8,000 to 15,000 persons.

While these numbers contain considerable variation, they demonstrate that asbestos still poses a serious health risk in the United States. More importantly, anyone who is suffering from a disease caused by asbestos or has lost a loved one to mesothelioma or asbestosis is not much concerned with statistics. A more urgent concern is obtaining restitution from the parties that are responsible for the exposure. A lawyer who specializes in such cases can provide significant assistance in pursuing a claim for damages against the manufacturers and uses of asbestos-containing products.

Source: Vox.com, "How many people are killed by asbestos? It's more difficult to track than you think," Margarita Noriega, July 1, 2015

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