Despite Health Risks, Still No U.S. Ban on Asbestos

by Sokolove Law

Asbestos is still used in the United States, despite its known health risks. The news might come as a shock for anyone who believes that asbestos, which is so clearly dangerous to human health, is a problem of the past.

While use of the carcinogenic mineral in the U.S. has declined substantially from its peak of 803,000 metric tons in 1973, we still import it at an alarming rate, according to The Center for Public Integrity, a nonpartisan, nonprofit investigative news organization. This is because the United States, unlike more than 50 nations, has never implemented a ban on the substance. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency came close in 1989, but its attempt was defeated by an industry court challenge.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, more than 2.3 million pounds (or 1,060 metric tons) of asbestos were imported into the U.S. from Brazil in 2012. Based on current trends, U.S. asbestos consumption is likely to remain near the 1,000-ton level, claimed the USGS.

The majority — 57 percent — of this asbestos is used in the chlor-alkali industry, according to the USGS. This is a segment of the chemical industry that makes chlorine and sodium hydroxide. Forty-one percent of the imported asbestos went into roofing materials, and the rest into “unknown applications.”

Exposure to asbestos leads to serious illnesses, including asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that in a 6-year period (1999-2005), 18,068 people died from mesothelioma.

According to the World Health Organization, about 125 million people worldwide are exposed to asbestos in the workplace. More than 107,000 people die every year from mesothelioma, asbestos lung cancer, and asbestosis.

If you have been exposed to asbestos in the workplace and have developed an asbestos-related condition as a result, you may be entitled to compensation. Call the experienced asbestos lawyers at Sokolove Law today for a free case consultation.

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