Asbestos has been recognized as a dangerous carcinogen for many years. Every year, many Americans die from illnesses related to asbestos exposure. Due to asbestos-related risks for workers, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been trying to ban asbestos for more than a decade. Now, a final assessment issued by the EPA on December 30, 2020 will address the use of chrysotile asbestos. This form of asbestos is used in aftermarket automobile brakes, gaskets, and in the construction of semi-permeable diaphragms that separate chlorine and sodium hydroxide.
There is no amount of asbestos exposure that is considered safe. Asbestos dust is toxic, the microscopic fibers of the mineral can be inhaled and can lodge in the membranes of the lung and cause damage. Inhaling asbestos dust can cause asbestosis and mesothelioma, which is a rare type of cancer.
Not everyone exposed to asbestos gets sick, and exposure can take different forms. Asbestos was previously found in many different types of products, including insulation, tiles, paint, and textiles. Before asbestos products were regulated, workers were exposed to small amounts of asbestos dust on a regular basis. Families of workers could be exposed when the workers bring home asbestos dust on their clothes. Exposure is also possible through a single event or a natural disaster. Both long-term and short-term exposures are associated with asbestos-related illnesses.
The EPA considers the risks to workers and consumers handling chrysotile asbestos unreasonable, and the organization will be evaluating former and current uses in two separate assessments. The assessment of former uses, such as construction materials in older buildings, will include five other types of asbestos fibers in addition to chrysotile.
Under a federal court ruling from December 22, 2020, the EPA must also start collecting information about how much asbestos is imported into the United States. After the final assessment is completed, the EPA has one year to propose actions that could protect workers and consumers from the risks of chrysotile asbestos, including limiting its use or banning it entirely.
In 2016, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) was revised. Under the revisions, the EPA must evaluate existing chemicals with clear and enforceable deadlines. Ten high-priority chemicals have been identified, and asbestos is one of the first ones to receive new scrutiny.
Anyone who develops an occupational illness from asbestos exposure may be eligible for compensation through a variety of sources. In addition to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), there are asbestos trust funds available. Victims may also choose to file a lawsuit to seek compensation from negligent manufacturers of asbestos-containing products.
Treatment for asbestos-related illnesses, like mesothelioma, can be prohibitively expensive without the help of any financial compensation. An experienced lawyer familiar with complex asbestos litigation cases can help a victim recover compensation to cover medical costs, lost wages, and more.
If you are suffering from an asbestos-related illness, speak to a Wilmington asbestos lawyer at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. We can help you with your complex case. Call us at 302-656-5445 or contact us online for a free consultation today. Located in Wilmington and Millsboro, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County.