The New South Wales government has announced that it is offering free inspections within homes built before 1980 in 14 local government areas. The residences, located in the southwest area of the Australian state, are believed to contain "Mr. Fluffy" loose-fill asbestos insulation.
New uses of asbestos in much of the industrialized world have been reduced. The EU has banned the material and in the U.S., concerns over liability have reduced its application. Of course, in the U.S., it can still be found a wide variety of locations and uses throughout the country.
But the product is just so useful, attractive and profitable that businesses cannot stop themselves from selling it elsewhere. In India, with approximately 800,000 poor who live on less than $1.25, one might ask if some type of permanent shelter is not better than any shelter. However, if the answer includes is asbestos materials, then assuredly it is not.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently investigating the possibility of improper asbestos removal at the site of the former Michigan School for the Blind. The investigation has followed after Michigan construction company, MAC Contracting, LLC, was accused of improperly and unsafely removing asbestos materials from the school.
Despite hundreds of asbestos and medical professionals advising India against the use of the substance, government officials continue to condone and encourage asbestos use in commercial and residential construction projects within the country.
Our senior trial partner was spotted in the San Francisco Daily Journal commenting on Judge James McBrides "Cleanup Act":
Few places on the earth are more associated with asbestos than Libby, Montana. Of course, that is because few places on earth are more contaminated with asbestos than Libby, Montana.
The town has become intimately associated with asbestos because it was home to the Zonolite vermiculite mine, which supplied 80 percent of the world's vermiculite, and was eventually owned by W.R. Grace & Company. And that vermiculite was contaminated with asbestos.
The materials and dust from the mine contaminated the entire town. Miners and residents contracted asbestos-related illnesses at high rates. Lawsuits began as people hired attorneys to sue W.R. Grace. Eventually in 1999, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began assessing the problem and in 2002, it was added to list of the EPA's Superfund sites.
In 2012, Stephan Schmidheiny, was convicted and sentenced to eighteen years of jail time resulting from negligence that led to the asbestos-related deaths of over 2,000 Italians. After appealing the ruling, Mr. Schmidheiny was still found guilty of negligence in 2013.
On July 30, 2014, Wisconsin renovation company was fined $47,272 for failing to properly remove asbestos from a facility in the town of Menasha. The PJC Group LLC (PJC) purchased the former Gilbert Paper Company facility back in 2004, and planned to renovate and demolish different parts of the property.
There are many unfortunate consequences to the use of asbestos throughout the industrialized world. That there are so many unsuspecting victims is perhaps the greatest tragedy. Workers, their spouses and children, were unwittingly exposed to asbestos in the thousands of industrial uses where it was employed.
Additionally, the long time frame of the disease further lends itself to the unsuspecting character of the illnesses it causes, such as asbestosis and mesothelioma, which may take decades to develop. Many workers may have even forgotten that they may ever have been exposed to the deadly asbestos fibers, only to receive the devastating diagnosis from a doctor 30 or 40 years after the fact.
Earlier this year, Wisconsin voters approved a bill that limits the rights of asbestos victims seeking compensation for debilitating asbestos-related diseases, like mesothelioma. Despite the law passing four months ago, many retired veterans are getting ready to stand up for their rights today.