Some important things to know about asbestos

Some important things to know about asbestos

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Some important things to know about asbestos
23 Jul 2017

Some important things to know about asbestos

Contrary to popular belief, exposure to asbestos is not a thing of the past. Today, it is still a serious public safety and health concern. Sadly, most people do not even know the reality of the situation.  As one of the strongest, lightest and most heat resistant materials out there, asbestos was and is still used widely for a range of applications mainly in insulation, fireproofing and construction.  Research has long revealed that exposure to asbestos through inhalation can cause fatal diseases, one of which is malignant mesothelioma.

When people started to get sick as a result of overexposure to asbestos, government agencies such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) were formed to deal with and limit the exposure to asbestos and other toxic pollutants.  As a result, in 1973, most asbestos products were banned for use in insulation and fireproofing, however, a full ban on the manufacturing, processing, importing or sale of asbestos-containing materials was never fully implemented.

Here are some important things to know about asbestos:

It is still legal in the US

As mentioned above, the EPA ban on asbestos failed when in 1991, the asbestos companies took the EPA to court and won a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals that repealed and overturned the asbestos ban.  Since then, the EPA continues to fight on; however, 50 other nations in the world, excluding the US, have banned asbestos use.

Asbestos kills. A LOT

Asbestos exposure kills more people than skin cancer. Asbestos has been proven to cause Mesothelioma, Asbestosis (which causes suffering when breathing) and other forms of lung cancer.

Asbestos is all around you

Asbestos use was banned in the 70’s; however, many old buildings still contain large quantities of it.  Additionally, more than a dozen items and products such as cement corrugated sheets, clothing, pipeline wrap, vinyl floor tiles, roof coatings, gaskets, and so much more are still made with asbestos.  Sometimes asbestos can also be found in kitchen appliances as well as heat resistant goods. Sadly, most countries, including the US, still imports products that contain asbestos.

There is no safe level of exposure

According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos. Even a little exposure can cause side effects, however, overexposure for a long time is more likely to cause fatal diseases such as mesothelioma.

No cure

Unfortunately, there is no known cure for mesothelioma, which is caused primarily by asbestos exposure. There are treatment options available for patients ranging from chemotherapy to surgery, depending on whether the mesothelioma is benign of malignant.


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