Humans have mined asbestos for thousands of years, because it is a cheap naturally-occurring substance resistant to heat, fire, chemicals and electricity, and can easily be refined into consumer and industrial products. It was heavily used during the industrial revolution and still used until it was largely outlawed in the United States in the 1970s. However, despite the known risks, asbestos is still being using in minute quantities in developed nations and largely used in developing nations.
According to a recent news article from the San Francisco Gate, victims of asbestos exposure are still waging a fight to totally ban the highly toxic substance. As Boston mesothelioma lawyers understand, asbestos fibers are easily inhaled into the lungs where they can become lodged in a layer of organ tissue know by doctors as the mesothelium. Once embedded in the mesothelium, they can metastasize into malignant mesothelioma, lung cancer, and other respiratory illness. They can also cause a permanent and potentially deadly scarring of the lung tissue known as asbestosis.
In this article, the interview subject says his goal is to “to die of something else” other than mesothelioma. He is a retired engineer who was diagnosed with mesothelioma over 15 years ago. This is not typical, since most mesothelioma victims only have a very short period of time left to live after doctors diagnosis them with the deadly illness. His latest medical issue involves an inoperable tumor located behind his liver. He is using his remaining time to for fight for medical research into new treatments, for the rights of asbestos exposure victims, and to completely ban the toxic substance, which has caused him so much pain and suffering.
Also interviewed in this article is the head of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). First, she discussed how much progress the EPA has made in the past four decades it has been around. However, as the author notes, in 2014 it was still legal to import, manufacture, and sell asbestos-containing products. The reason for this is because EPA tried to enact an administrative ban over 20 years ago. However, the asbestos industry won a major court case overturning this administrative action.
Congress has also tried to completely ban asbestos but has failed on several occasions to pass a bill. The problem relates to the definition of product versus the definition of material. If asbestos products were banned, all asbestos would be illegal. However, the banning of material means anything up to one percent its own weight in asbestos would remain legal. Even this lessened standard failed get enacted into law.
The asbestos manufacturing industry, along with owners of vermiculite mines, have spent a considerable amount of money lobbying to Congress to allow them to produce certain quantities of asbestos-containing materials or products. Despite the known risks to uninformed consumers, the desire for profits keeps them fighting an outright ban. As asbestos continues to be imported into the United States, thousands are being diagnosed with asbestos-related illnesses each year.
If you or a loved one is diagnosed with mesothelioma in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.
More Blog Entries:
Mesothelioma Effects on Small England Town, July 26, 2014, Boston Mesothelioma Lawyers Blog