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Important reminders about the presence of asbestos today

Too many people think that asbestos is no longer an issue in today's homes and products. They may think that because the dangers associated with asbestos were discovered decades ago, the fiber has been removed from the marketplace, banned and no longer present in products we come into contact with every day. Unfortunately, this is not true. The fact is that asbestos is still used in some capacities and people may be using asbestos-containing products on a regular basis without even realizing it.

Asbestos is not completely banned in the United States. Other countries have banned asbestos, but this country has only banned the use of asbestos in new capacities and in a few categories of products. This means that the threat of exposure to this toxic substance continues to affect all kinds of people.

Many products that were manufactured in the past also continue to contain asbestos. While people may be aware of asbestos in building and construction materials, they may not realize that asbestos was also used in everything from car brakes to electric blankets to children's toys that people still have and use today.

Despite the known dangers of asbestos exposure, people continue to use the fiber in their products and fail to remove existing asbestos properly. Instead of responsibly notifying officials and workers about the presence of asbestos in a building, property owners will commonly ignore their duty to inform these people about the asbestos risks. This means that residents and workers removing asbestos-containing materials are often unprotected from ingesting dust contaminated with asbestos fibers.

Property owners and manufacturers can be held legally responsible for failing to notify consumers, workers and residents about the hazards associated with asbestos. This negligence has put thousands of people in danger of developing deadly illnesses for which asbestos is the only known cause, such as mesothelioma.

Source: asbestos.com, "3 Things Everyone Should Know About Asbestos and the Law," Karen Marshall, Jan. 11, 2013

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