There are many potential sources of asbestos exposure, all of which people should try to minimize. In some places, large-scale mining operations release asbestos fibers into the air, putting everyone in the community at risk. For professionals in certain fields, asbestos exposure may be part of the job. Some people may even have high levels of asbestos exposure due to attendance or working in certain schools.
Generally speaking, industries have transitioned to a more careful approach to asbestos in recent years, although that historically was not the case. Many businesses have chosen to cut corners when it comes to product testing, mine composition testing and even employee safety gear that could protect workers. These cost-cutting measures eventually result in asbestos exposure at dangerous levels for employees or even customers.
Reports show massive increase in asbestos importation
With a significant increase in asbestos imports in the United States, future illnesses should be a concern for anyone who could find themselves exposed to asbestos. That means that consumers, as well as workers, must be more diligent about their own safety.
With the announcement of potential government policy changes about the easing of regulations regarding asbestos in products, businesses have jumped at a potential opportunity to make a lot of money. Between the months of July and August in 2018, there was a 2,000 percent increase in the amount of asbestos imported into the United States.
Many of these companies importing asbestos no doubt hope to get products on the market under the “new use rules” being suggested at this time. There is no way to know yet if these rules actually wind up implemented, as well as how businesses will handle rolling out new products that include asbestos.
However, given the known correlation between asbestos exposure and serious conditions, including mesothelioma, it is concerning that companies are rushing to import the mineral so quickly. It could mean a future spike in disease.
Workers often don’t develop symptoms for decades
Workers exposed daily to asbestos, as well as their families who may inhale particulate asbestos from their clothing, have an increased risk of developing many conditions, including mesothelioma, which is particularly aggressive and insidious.
It takes decades for mesothelioma to develop into a diagnosable condition. In other words, companies may long since have been sold to a different business or dismantled. In this way, businesses can often avoid financial responsibility for the illnesses that they cause their workers.
Anyone with a recent mesothelioma diagnosis or the diagnosis of another cancer-related illness that is linked to asbestos exposure should explore their product use and employment histories. In some cases, it is possible to hold companies responsible if they expose customers or their workers to asbestos.