We have mentioned that many workers are at risk for developing asbestos-related diseases due to exposure at work, but did you know that their spouses and family members are also at risk? Many individuals that came into contact with workers and their clothing are being diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma, today.
One of our posts last week discussed the dangers caused by improper asbestos abatement. Because asbestos is no longer used as a construction material in U.S. buildings, the biggest hazards occur when buildings are renovated or demolished. These jobs are supposed to be handled by licensed asbestos abatement professionals, but this doesn't always happen.
A few recent news headlines from around the country are good examples of proper and improper ways of handling asbestos in older buildings. The first comes from Connecticut, where asbestos removal at a middle school is being done so safely that activities continue to be held in other parts of the building.
There are different workers within many different kinds of trades that are at risk for asbestos exposure. Boilermakers are just one example of the workers at risk for exposure, which can lead to a mesothelioma diagnosis later in life.
Did you hear? Our senior trial partner, Gil Purcell, was recently selected as a Top Plaintiff Lawyer in California, as part of the Daily Journal's inaugural list. The list was announced in the Daily Journal's Top Plaintiff Lawyers Special Edition, which was published on July 15, 2015.
We mentioned in Monday's blog post that the number of U.S. deaths due to asbestos exposure have been hard to estimate. Researchers are finding that diseases like mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer are taking the lives of more individuals than originally thought. It was also recently reported that the state of Maine has experienced a higher-than-average asbestos-related death toll.
Between 1999 and 2013, more than 2,000 individuals died due to asbestos-related causes in the state. The exposure rate is believed to be caused by the number of older homes in the state that were constructed with asbestos-containing materials - a situation that is not going to disappear overnight.
In our post yesterday, we discussed the problem of improper asbestos removal from buildings during demolition and renovation. As with other toxic building materials like lead paint, asbestos tends to be most hazardous during renovation and demolition, because materials can become airborne.
As yesterday's post mentions, contractors and others who remove asbestos negligently (and without proper certification) can face criminal charges. Unfortunately, this kind of shoddy asbestos removal is more common than you might think. And while some contractors expose their workers and others to asbestos out of ignorance, others do it simply to save money.
Many buildings in the United States have been constructed with asbestos materials. Homes, condominiums, commercial buildings, and other structures built before 1990 are likely to contain the substance. In most cases, the asbestos-containing materials do not pose harm to anyone - it is when fibers are released into the air that a hazard arises. Unfortunately, many individuals release these fibers by improperly handling asbestos during removal.
Many people think that the need to worry about asbestos exposure is over, but that could not be further from the truth. Recently, asbestos has been found in different brands of children's crayons and toy fingerprint kits, putting kids at risk for exposure to the deadly carcinogen.
Asbestos is one of those stories that seem to disappear from view for years or decades, only to reappear and demonstrate that while many have forgotten the substance was ever used in the U.S., it is still present in many products and when anyone looks, they are often surprised at its virulence.
Many mistakenly believe it is no longer a problem at all. They believe it was banned 25 years ago and that "the government" cleaned up the remaining substance at that time. However, it was not banned in many materials, as industry litigation stopped the Environmental Protection Agency's attempt to create regulations that would have prevented much of the use of asbestos, in this country.