Asbestos is a hazardous material. Is there anyone reading this blog who does not appreciate that? We doubt it. The product does have a reputation for being a fine fire retardant, but research has shown it also is a major cause of deadly diseases such as mesothelioma, asbestosis and lung cancer. With all the information now available one might wonder why the threat of exposure remains. You would think that asbestos use would be banned.
The fact is that more than 50 countries around the world have banned asbestos. The U.S. is not one of them. The mining of asbestos doesn't happen anymore, but it is still imported into the country. As recently as 2007, a research project discovered asbestos as an ingredient in window glazing compound, roof patching material, wall spackle and a toy fingerprint kit made in China.
Recent action in Washington, however, leaves anti-asbestos activists hopeful that perhaps the U.S. is on the verge of a change. President Obama signed the Toxic Substances Control Act into law this week. One of the things the measure does is give the Environmental Protection Agency a bit more bite than bark when it comes to regulating dangerous chemicals.
A leader of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization says asbestos should be one of the first the EPA puts on its list of materials subject to prioritization for evaluation.
The EPA attempted to ban asbestos long ago, but a court struck down the effort in 1991. In the course of the debate that led up to the passage of the TSCA, lawmakers pointed to that decision as one of the reasons the law is needed.
Whether a ban is issued or not, the threat of exposure to asbestos remains. Victims of that exposure should be consulting experienced legal counsel to learn about their rights.
Source: Mesothelioma.com, "When was Asbestos Banned in the U.S.? It Still Isn't!," Gary Cohn, May 31, 2016