1. Let’s Not Be Left Behind by the Rest of the World
Just like the metric system (arguably) or better healthcare, the U.S. is behind the times when it comes to asbestos regulations. 57 other countries in the world have eradicated the carcinogen.
Linda Reinstein, founder of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) was quoted in a report, “The United States and Canada are the last two major industrialized countries, not counting Russia, that haven’t banned asbestos,” she says. Another scholar of the subject, Joseph LaDou writes, “This problem of asbestos continues to persist where there is the most vulnerable population and the least governmental regulation and enforcement.”
Is this really how the United States wants to think of itself? As the most vulnerable and the least well enforced?
2. Safer Alternatives Exist
According to a report featured by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) there are many safe alternatives to asbestos. The report lists more than a dozen alternative substances, all of which are better than asbestos. Why then don’t more companies switch to materials that will save thousands of lives? Because those safer materials will cost corporations 10-15 percent more.
3. Asbestos Lingers Long After It Is Installed and Even After It Is Abated.
Just because asbestos is removed from an office or school doesn’t mean it’s not causing harm. Workers must transport the substance to landfills where they — and others — can still suffer exposure. In June of 2016 a landfill in Hillsboro, OR was fined $6,400 for failing to cover up its asbestos debris. Uncovered asbestos fibers can be caught in the wind and scattered to far off residential areas.
4. Asbestos Can Be Tracked into the Home and Endanger Entire Families
Known as “Toxic Take Home”, asbestos fibers can cling to a worker’s clothing and be transported from the work site to the home. From there, children and spouses can be unwittingly exposed. Mesothelioma in children is rare, but early exposure to asbestos has been shown to increase the chances for developing mesothelioma later in life.
5. Asbestos-Related Diseases Put an Enormous Financial Burden on the Healthcare System
By 2004, asbestos pay outs had already reached a staggering $70 Billion. Asbestos-using corporations, especially those in the chemical industries, would like to chalk this up to fraud, but the fact is that these payouts represent the overwhelming number of people who have been injured or killed by asbestos exposure.
One study showed that between 1989 and 2010, asbestos-related diseases robbed American workers of roughly 430,000 years of productive life, when they could have been working and contributing to the economy.
6. Asbestos-Related Diseases Make the Rich Richer and the Poor Poorer
Chemical corporations like Honeywell and Koch Industries, try to present themselves as worker-friendly, yet these same companies hid the dangers of asbestos from workers for years.
Between general industry workers and school teachers – 2 professions that are a backbone of American success – nearly 3 million people are exposed to asbestos every year. That’s not to mention military veterans – the men and women who serve the U.S. make up no less than 33 percent of all mesothelioma cases in America.
7. Asbestos Is Only Here Because Chemical Corporations Bribed Washington to Get Their Way
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a complete ban of asbestos in the 80s, but chemical corporations complained that the ban was too financially stressful and managed to get the decision overturned.
Companies like the Koch brothers use their fortunes to fund their own political agendas – going so far as to block legislation designed to help asbestos victims receive compensation for their injuries. Other chemical companies like Dow and Honeywell, spent nearly $70 Million to influence a recent toxic substances reform bill.
8. Asbestos-Related Diseases Are Un-curable and Mostly Untreatable
Diseases that are caused by asbestos, such as mesothelioma, are completely un-curable. The palliative treatments, which can improve quality of life and extend a victim’s timeline, are enormously expensive. Patients can easily spend over $400,000 for their first year of treatment.
For the 12,000 to 15,000 people dying from asbestos diseases every year, there literally is no alternative. They can simply do their best and wait for the inevitable. But future generations can avoid that fate if a ban is passed.
9. Mesothelioma Is a Gruesome, Painful, and Unnecessary Way to Die in the 21st Century
Victims like 39-year-old Kris Penny suffer extreme and life-threatening weight loss as a result of their cancer. Penny, a once active and strong working man, said that mesothelioma left him so depleted of physical strength and will that he had to “think about every step” he took. Penny worked in a network of underground tunnels, amidst clouds of asbestos that his employers told him were non-toxic. Now he’s forced to tick off his last days with his daughter, all while in agony.
10. Because of Globalization, Asbestos Use in the U.S. Will Also Kill Workers Abroad
The world is smaller now and asbestos travels easily. One example among many: American ships that were decommissioned from the Navy – because they contained asbestos – are sent to India to be broken down and disposed of for cheap.
Unfortunately, part of the reason it’s so cheap to break down ships in India is that the workers aren’t properly protected or watched. As a result, the U.S.’s attempt to rid itself of asbestos, really just casts the problem onto another, poorer nation.