A controversial decision made in the Alaskan House of Representative would allow naturally occurring asbestos in the state to be mined if it is too expensive to find a replacement material, and some state politicians are not happy about it.
Reggie Joule, A democrat in the House and the sponsor of the bill, said that the decision “creates a voluntary program that allows certain areas to use naturally occurring asbestos gravel for construction projects.” Some of these projects, he added, have been in the pipeline for years.
In order to determine whether naturally-mined asbestos from area is “safe” enough for used, the bill also would set up a process to determine the danger level of the materials in question, Alaska Public Radio reported.
However, there are many who oppose the bill and feel that allowing the usage of asbestos – which has been linked extensively as the primary cause of mesothelioma – could be dangerous. Les Gara, another democrat in the House, lobbied unsuccessfully for the requirement of public meetings before the approval of asbestos products in a town. He also maintained that there is no truly “safe” form of the deadly fiber, and that the bill would prevent those who become sickened from the asbestos inhalation from seeking compensatory damages.
“If you end up breathing in asbestos and getting asbestosis, you have no recourse. All liability is taken away. So you have no compensatory damages if you get the disease,” he said. “So a small protection would be for at least the public to come out and listen and speak out before a plan is adopted in their community.”
Asbestos products have been known to be the primary cause of deadly diseases like mesothelioma for decades now. While the bill still has to go before the state Senate, the fact that an idea such as this can still gain any traction is all the more reason that laws banning the use of asbestos in the United States should be put in place.
If you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos and now suffers from mesothelioma, contact Sokolove Law today to learn more about pursuing a mesothelioma lawsuit.