Jim Sokolove, Founder and Chairman, retired 2013, of Sokolove Law, talks about the dangers of asbestos exposure.
Common Asbestos Products
Widely used during the 20th century, asbestos has been known as a serious threat to human health for decades. But this fact has not stopped it from being used in some common products. Asbestos is still a legal substance in our country—the U.S. is one of the only industrialized nations that have not banned it. Asbestos has been found in numerous types of products sold in the U.S. including:
Occupations at Risk for Asbestos Exposure
Mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer, and pleural disease are serious illnesses that usually occur in people who work directly with asbestos or are exposed to it on a regular, prolonged, or substantial basis. Workers in certain occupations have a higher risk of exposure because asbestos is contained in products their company manufactures or is present in their daily work environment.
Aerospace, automotive, construction, manufacturing, marine, military, railroad—among others—are industries in which employees may be exposed to asbestos. Workers in these industries may also put their families at risk if they go home asbestos fibers on their skin, hair, and clothing.
Specific Company Sites at Risk for Asbestos Exposure
Asbestos is now regulated in the U.S. Although guidelines for its use are set by the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), asbestos still poses a considerable hazard to workers in some occupations. Learning more about the job sites proven to have exposed workers to asbestos—past and present—is important if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma.
Asbestos Exposure Risks
There are six types of asbestos: Chrysotile, amocite, crocidolite, anthophyllite, tremolite, and actinolite. These naturally occurring mineral fibers are distinguished by their appearance and properties, with chrysotile being the most commonly used. Asbestos is found in 20 U.S. states and has been mined in 17 of them.
Asbestos exposure risks are serious. Once needle-like asbestos fibers are breathed in or swallowed, they cannot leave the body. Instead, these fibers embed themselves in the lining of the lungs or the stomach cavity where they can cause scarring and inflammation. This can lead to life-threatening diseases including the incurable cancer mesothelioma.
Asbestos is still found in many buildings—public and private—including schools. Asbestos was used in the construction of schools, especially in the 1980s, in ceilings, beams, boiler insulation, and more. Learn more interesting asbestos facts that will help you understand the history and impact of this material.
Asbestos Abatement and Removal
There is no safe level of exposure to asbestos. To protect their health, many homeowners opt for asbestos removal—also known as asbestos abatement—which should always be handled by experts. Asbestos abatement is regulated at the federal level by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and OSHA. State and local laws may also provide further guidelines and regulations for asbestos removal in your area.