Why is asbestos still a problem?

by | Jul 6, 2021 | Asbestos |

The risks of asbestos are well known. When a person inhales the dust particles, the fibers inflict damage to the lungs, often causing various diseases, including mesothelioma. Scientists, government, and industry have known about these hazards for a long time, but moves to lessen or completely halt asbestos use are hampered by companies who’d rather keep using asbestos at the expense of the health and lives of their workers and customers.

How Long have we Known Asbestos Causes Mesothelioma?

We have known that asbestos is dangerous to use for decades at this point. The risks of the material were first warned about in medical journals in 1898. In the U.S., asbestos use peaked in 1980. That’s almost 90 years of wide use in construction and infrastructure across the country, even though industry it caused fatal diseases. The U.S. EPA tried to ban asbestos use in 1989, but it was overturned in 1991 after the industry sued.

In addition to asbestosis, lung cancer, and other cancers, since 1960, it has been conclusively established that asbestos-caused mesothelioma.  But even armed with decades of concerns about safety and workers’ health, still, companies insisted on using the material.

Why is this material so attractive?

Asbestos as a construction material has many desirable traits that companies want in their construction materials:

  • Strength and durability
  • Fire-resistance
  • Insulation
  • Ease of sourcing

While it might not cost that much to buy asbestos, the costs of its use are far too high. Asbestos use is only continued at the expense of the health and future of regular people.

Demanding accountability

Since an outright ban on the substance has never taken full effect, it falls to the individuals to fight against its use. Those suffering from cancer or mesothelioma must demand that the companies put profit before their health pay and pay significantly. Until every company feels the human cost of using this material, they will prioritize the monetary cost.

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