Asbestos ban no: no amount of exposure is ‘safe’
“Eighteen years after the Environmental Protection Agency unsuccessfully attempted to ban asbestos … while asbestos is regulated, it continues to be used in scores of products despite the fact that no amount of asbestos is safe to breathe.” – Environmental Working Group Press Release August 2007 (http://www.ewg.org/release/senate-panel-passes-asbestos-ban)
“No amount of asbestos is considered safe” – open letter on July 1, 2009 from the Associated Labor Unions (ALU), Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) and Building and Woodworkers International (BWI) to the Government of Canada to end Canada’s asbestos export to developing countries. (http://www.bwint.org/default.asp?Index=2337&Language=EN)
In 1989, the United States Environmental Protection Agency announced that under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the EPA would phase out and eventually ban all products containing asbestos. This decision came on the heels of a ten year study costing the government over $10 Million.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals stayed the EPA’s order, and the first Bush administration declined to appeal the decision. (http://www.ewg.org/release/senate-panel-passes-asbestos-ban)
In 2007, the United States Senate Bill S 742, the Ban Asbestos in American, passed by unanimous consent, but on October 5, 2007, never made it past the Senate into the House for a vote. (http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s110-742) Lobbying against it was fierce.
Asbestos in the United States is in use today
S 742, the Ban Asbestos in America Act found that:
(3) the United States Geological Survey reported that, in 2006, the United States used 2,000 metric tons of asbestos, of which approximately--
(A) 55 percent was used in roofing products;
(B) 26 percent was used in coatings; and
(C) 19 percent was used in other products, such as friction products;
(4) the Department of Commerce estimates that the United States imports more than $100,000,000 of brake parts per year;
(5) available evidence suggests that--
(A) imports of some types of asbestos-containing products are increasing; and
(B) some of those products are imported from foreign countries in which asbestos is poorly regulated;
The bill also noted that the EPA has classified asbestos as a Category A carcinogen (http://www.epa.gov/iris/subst/0371.htm) and that the public wrongly assumed that there was no risk of exposure through new commercial products. (http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=s110-742)
The devastating effects of asbestos cancers, such as mesothelioma and lung cancer
Over 10,000 Americans each year die from preventable asbestos related diseases linked to asbestos exposure estimates the Environmental Working Group (http://www.ewg.org/sites/asbestos/).
“[My husband] came here in 1917 … he worked in construction … building homes … and then he was hired by the Powerhouses … he worked with the boilers, removing the asbestos, which was exposed … [he worked] for 10-12 hours a day … but after 25 years this disease developed … first the kidneys failed and then we were trying to figure out why did the kidneys fail, he was a healthy person and after two years we found out … that’s what it was – it was the asbestos … and by that time it was too late because it had spread into the lungs …” – spouse recounting her husband’s battle with mesothelioma.
“It’s a lot of pain … the breathing is very heavy, very, very heavy … they can’t breathe … they have to wear oxygen, which is hard for them … you cannot move as a … person … you see … a person … they just can’t do anything for themselves, but they want to do everything for themselves …”
Asbestos related diseases cause severe problems with breathing. Mesothelioma cancer sufferers have trouble breathing even when lying down. The diseases are progressive and take a greater toll each day.
Why a complete ban is necessary
No amount of exposure is safe.
As a law firm that has seen untellable suffering from this asbestos epidemic, an asbestos ban offers little comfort to our clients who are already ill. However, it offers one small comfort: if a ban were put in place, their children or grandchildren and nieces and grandnieces and grandnephews have a chance at living a long and healthy life free from asbestos cancer.
Weitz & Luxenberg, more than just an advocate in the courts
Our firm strives daily to raise awareness about the health risks related to asbestos exposure and the real risks that many still face today.
At this time, men and women continue to live and work around roofing products, coatings, tapes, and friction products completely unaware that they are being exposed.
If you or a loved one is suffering from an asbestos-related disease, you can seek compensation to help ease the burden on yourself and your family. Weitz & Luxenberg is here to represent you and walk you through all of your legal options.
Call us or contact us through this web site.