Would an Asbestos Ban Immediately Reduce Mesothelioma Cases?
Americans have always been a resourceful people. Fortunate to live in a technologically advanced society that boasts tremendous human capital, an economic system that rewards innovation, and a strong work ethic, Americans routinely take a leading role in helping to solve medical and other pressing problems both at home and abroad.
Americans also take an active role in attempting to solve their own problems. As information becomes easier to access online, more and more people invest the time and energy to learn about their own issues.
But even with all of these resources, most would agree that health care problems still exist. In fact, polls routinely indicate that healthcare is a top concern (if not the top concern) for people around the country.
A topic important in some health care discussions is the continuing harm caused by asbestos, which brings us to the topic of today’s article – would a complete asbestos ban in the United States immediately reduce asbestos-related mesothelioma cases?
Understanding the Use of Asbestos in the United States
The term “asbestos” generally refers to four related minerals that possess heat-resistant and other properties that make them useful in a variety of products. Unfortunately, it has now been determined that long-term exposure to asbestos can cause mesothelioma and other illnesses. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 125 million people worldwide endure workplace asbestos exposure. This exposure can lead to illness, disability, and death.
Fortunately, in the United States, both state and federal governments have made great progress in protecting workers - but it wasn’t always this way. Some employers initially hid from workers the grave long-term health effects of asbestos exposure in the workplace.
Fortunately, lawsuits and other actions started to shine a bright light on these issues. There are now many OSHA standards and other laws designed to protect workers. Notwithstanding these improvements, however, many people are shocked to learn that asbestos has not been completely banned in the United States.
Asbestos-Related Disease Can Take Years to Develop
What if our political leaders decided to finally ban asbestos as has been accomplished in so many other western countries? Would that immediately reduce the number of asbestos-related mesothelioma cases? Unfortunately, it would take a long time before all asbestos-related illnesses disappear. That’s because mesothelioma and other diseases related to asbestos can take years to develop.
Asbestos becomes especially dangerous to humans when it becomes friable. That means that dries out and, when disturbed, becomes crushed into a powder-like substance. The asbestos fibers then become airborne and can be inhaled. When the fibers are inhaled over time, it can scar and harm the lungs, and in some people eventually causes disease.
But the development of mesothelioma can take years, and even decades, to develop. That means that people who were exposed to asbestos in their working lives several decades ago can still develop the disease.
Unfortunately, a ban of asbestos today would not help such people. It would, however, be an important step in eliminating mesothelioma for future generations.
Call with Questions
At Nelson MacNeil Rayfield, we are here to answer your questions. If you are a current or former construction worker, plumber, firefighter, shipbuilder, auto mechanic, industrial worker, insulator, sailor, or any other worker who has been exposed to asbestos, we know you have many questions on your mind. Our experienced mesothelioma lawyers can help you understand all of your rights.
Please give us a call today to get started.