Asbestos, a naturally-occurring mineral, has been used in hundreds of products, ranging from brake pads to building insulation in Navy ships. Asbestos has uses for both fireproofing items and insulating. However, medical professionals have suspected that asbestos caused disease and cancer since the beginning of the twentieth century.
The dangers of asbestos have been public knowledge for many decades since the mineral got linked to mesothelioma in the 1970s, which has resulted in increased government control of asbestos used in consumer and industrial products, as well as increased workplace safety requirements for workers who handle, mine or process asbestos or products with asbestos in them.
Despite these safety attempts, more people get diagnosed with asbestos-related illnesses every year. Even more worrisome is the potential for more asbestos to make its way onto American markets, potentially impacting new generations of American consumers and workers. Now, 10 states have joined together to bring a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding its lack of action on the danger posed by asbestos.
Many states want to see stricter government control of asbestos
Countless American workers, from educators to vehicle mechanics, have wound up exposed to asbestos as part of their job and eventually sickened. Their loved ones who hugged them after work, rode in their contaminated vehicles or even washed their clothing, could have also wound up sick as a result of secondary exposure to particulate asbestos.
The cost of caring for those with mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure is incredibly expensive. Their medical care costs a lot, as does the impact of their illness on their families and the loss of their contributions to the local economy. Asbestos has long-term financial consequences for the people whom it makes sick, as well as for the companies who used it in their products without properly protecting their workers.
Asbestos is a known carcinogen whose dangers may well outweigh whatever benefits the mineral offers as an insulator or fireproofing agent. The states involved in the lawsuit aiming to stem asbestos use in the United States are California, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Connecticut, Hawaii, Oregon, Maine, New Jersey and Washington. They brought suit jointly on Friday, July 5, in a federal court in California.
Improved EPA restrictions will benefit future workers
If these states are successful in challenging federal EPA rules and standards on asbestos, new generations of Americans could avoid the terrible illnesses and social costs associated with asbestos exposure.
For those already exposed due to their career or the work of a loved one with asbestos, there are options available for compensation, ranging from mesothelioma funds to civil lawsuits. A discussion with an experienced attorney who understands mesothelioma cases is a critical first step for anyone wondering about their rights and options after a mesothelioma diagnosis.