Asbestos is easy to forget about. If you do not work with materials that contain asbestos, you could believe that it is no longer a problem at all. You could think that it was banned decades ago and that there are only a few older workers from industrial plants, shipyards and similar occupations who remain at risk to asbestos-related diseases.
You may be a professional, who works in an office or perhaps a doctor or lawyer. You never mess with dirty, industrial processes, so you probably think there is no chance that you could ever develop mesothelioma. After all, you have never been exposed to asbestos dust, and inhalation of asbestos dust is the principal means of exposure.
Do you worry about your mother or father being diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease like mesothelioma? Because of the long latency period of the illness, 75% of mesothelioma victims today are senior citizens. There are many factors that might contribute to a mesothelioma diagnosis. Let's find out if either of your parents are at risk:
Brayton Purcell is honored to have been nominated for the Center for Volunteer and Nonprofit Leadership of Marin's 2014 Heart of Marin Awards. This year, our firm has been nominated for the Corporate Community Service Award, presented to a business that has fostered and encouraged volunteerism and philanthropy among its employees. You can read more about our community service efforts on our Giving Back page.
The asbestos industry and the industry of defense lawyers who are very well paid to protect that industry, like to create the impression that they are victims. Just look at the way they characterize the current state of affairs:
"So far, asbestos litigation has driven nearly 100 companies into bankruptcy and created an asbestos bankruptcy trust system with between $30 billion and $37 billion reserved for current and future asbestos claimants."
Let's examine that statement. They characterize asbestos litigation as "driving" companies out of business. However, isn't it more correct to look at it from an economic analysis, and merely see that as the cost to the company for using an inherently dangerous material that causes many people to die?
While the number of injuries on the job are down for firefighters these days, asbestos still remains a major threat to these workers' health.
Last year, the National Fire Protection Association separated "injuries" from "exposures," in their annual survey, decreasing the number of annual injuries overall. Despite this, 17,400 exposures to hazards such as asbestos, radioactive materials, chemicals, and fumes in 2013. If you are a retired or active firefighter, you are at risk for being diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease due to your line of work.
This fall, there was news that a school district in Huntington Beach, California had been involved in potentially dangerous asbestos abatement at their facilities, with some of the potentially dangerous actions being carried out while students may have been in the buildings.
In that case, parents found out and quickly forced the district to move children out of the buildings and begin proper asbestos abatement and cleanup of the facilities. From Michigan last week a report of a similar incident, only in this case, the district reprimanded and laid off a janitor who complained about the unsafe work conditions. They also appear to have forged a report that claimed there was no asbestos in the buildings.
The inspector who was the supposed author of the report stated he had never inspected the school buildings in question and never issued any report clearing them of asbestos contamination.