Despite Heavy Toll, No U.S. Asbestos Ban

The United States still imports and uses the carcinogenic mineral asbestos, despite its devastating effects on human health.

Although many think asbestos is a past problem for the United States, the lethal mineral is anything but. This is because unlike more than 50 other countries, we never implemented a complete ban on the substance. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency came close in 1989, but its attempt was defeated by an industry court challenge, according to The Center for Public Integrity, a nonpartisan, nonprofit investigative news organization.

The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that we imported over 2.3 million pounds (or 1,060 metric tons) in 2012 alone. While this amount is down from the peak of 803,000 metric tons imported in 1973, it is still a cause for concern. Based on current trends, U.S. asbestos consumption is likely to remain near the 1,000-ton level, claimed the USGS.

Where is all of this asbestos being used? The list of banned products and uses is meager. The U.S. Toxic Substances Control Act banned the manufacture, importation, processing, and distribution of only a few asbestos-containing products: corrugated paper, commercial paper, specialty paper, and flooring felt, as well as “new uses” of the substance.

According to the USGS, 57 percent of the imported asbestos is used in the chlor-alkali industry. Forty-one percent of the imported asbestos went into roofing materials, and the rest into “unknown applications.” Even brief exposures to asbestos can lead to a number of serious illnesses and cancers, including lung cancer and malignant mesothelioma.

If you or a family member has suffered from the devastating effects of asbestos exposure, you have rights under the law. Monetary compensation in the form of a mesothelioma lawsuit can help pay medical bills and other expenses. Why wait? Call Sokolove Law for your free no-obligation case evaluation today.