Asbestos-related deaths still high despite regulation

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports that asbestos-related deaths are still occurring at alarming rates. Despite regulations imposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency, asbestos remains a danger to workers in susceptible fields of labor such as construction.

Mesothelioma, a type of cancer resulting from asbestos exposure, is taking a fatal toll on people exposed to asbestos many years ago. The reason for this is that it can take up to 70 years for mesothelioma to develop after initial inhalation of asbestos fibers.

According to a recent article on NPR, Before asbestos was regulated, it was used in a wide variety of products such as insulation, paint and tiles. The first two “waves” of people with Mesothelioma include asbestos miners and manufacturers who were exposed to raw asbestos, followed by tradespersons such as plumbers, electrical installers and ship builders, who were exposed to asbestos-containing products.

People who were in these first two waves are experiencing the greatest increase in Mesothelioma-related deaths – specifically those over 85 years old.

Those exposed to asbestos that gets stirred up during building renovations or demolitions comprise the “third wave”. However, asbestos exposure occurs not only in situations where asbestos was originally installed years ago.

Although it is not currently being produced in the U.S., asbestos is still imported from other countries to be used in the manufacture of common consumer products such as soap and fertilizer.

Furthermore, OSHA regulation compliance is a major issue. The CDC reports that 20 percent of air samples collected in the construction industry still exceed the permissible exposure limit. This continual use of asbestos and regulatory non-compliance is contributing to asbestos-related deaths in people younger than 55.

Those suffering from an asbestos-related illness – now or in the future – should know that despite such a diagnosis, compensation may be available to deal with the financial fallout of lost wages, treatment and more. If this recent news is any indication, the need to hold manufacturers responsible for the damage they have caused by using such an unsafe product will continue as long as these illnesses persist.