Organizations that represent victims of asbestos exposure are beginning to organize opposition to a bill recently introduced in the United States Congress by two Republicans, Rep. Blake Farenthold of Texas and Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona. The bill is touted as helping victims obtain larger payments from asbestos trust funds, but opponents of the legislation have marshalled some convincing arguments showing that the bill actually hurts victims of asbestos exposure.
The textile industry was once dominant in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. While most people do not associate the health hazards of asbestos exposure with the textile industry, those hazards became well known after World War II and continue to afflict persons even today.
While many of us have heard of asbestos, there are a lot of misconceptions about what exactly asbestos is and how it can be harmful. Nearly all uses of asbestos have been prohibited in the United States since 1989, but it's important for people who live or work in older buildings to understand what the material is and its potential for harm.
In a recent ruling that may affect asbestos lawsuits in North Carolina, a state court of appeals has deter-mined that a manufacturer may be liable in strict liability for asbestos that was used in another company's product. In most cases, a manufacturer cannot be held liable for damages resulting from asbestos exposure that was caused by another company's product. Using an exception to this rule, the California Court of Appeals reinstated a case brought by a man whose wife allegedly died from exposure to asbestos fibers on his work clothing.
The health hazards of exposure to asbestos fibers are widely known in North Carolina and throughout the United States. Nevertheless, a recent study has shown that federal regulations establishing safe limits for concentration of airborne asbestos fibers have been routinely ignored by various industries.
In our last post, we discussed the difficulty of measuring the number of persons who suffer from or who die from exposure to asbestos. Another way to look at the problem is to focus on the environmental conditions that carry a high risk of exposure to an asbestos or an asbestos-containing product.
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.
Many workers in North Carolina have died from exposure to asbestos-containing products, and many of these workers received compensation for the disability and shortened life expectancy caused by this exposure. An issue now emerging is whether the survivors of those victims who did not seek compensation can recover damages for their husbands' or fathers' fatal asbestos-related diseases. A recent state court filing in probate court in Akron, OH offers a promising answer to this question.
Asbestos has long been known to residents of North Carolina as the cause of several kinds of disabling and fatal diseases such as mesothelioma and asbestosis. A new study now links asbestos to a series of autoimmune disorders that affect the lungs.