U.S. Asbestos-Related Deaths Could Top Half-Million, Says Study

Despite a sizable decrease in the amount of asbestos that is used throughout the United States in recent decades, there is still a chance that asbestos exposure could lead to a half-million deaths from mesothelioma and other types of asbestos cancer.

According to Dangers in the Dust – a joint investigation into asbestos use by the BBC’s International News Services and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists – as reported by McClatchy, U.S. asbestos use has plummeted from a peak of 885,000 tons in 1973 to only 1,609 tons in 2008. However, due to the long latency period of the illness and continued exposure to the fibers, many are still being diagnosed with the illness even today.

“The people who were exposed to a ton of asbestos are dead. They’ve all been killed off by this stuff,” Jonathan Ruckdeschel, an attorney representing former General Motors brake company worker Bill Rogers in a mesothelioma case, said, according to McClatchy. “What we’re seeing now are people, like Bill Rogers, who are getting mesothelioma, often without any other associated asbestos disease.”

Even with reduced asbestos exposure in workplaces today, the investigation found that current U.S. workplace standards accept 0.1 asbestos fibers per cubic centimeter of air. However, those levels still can allow a worker to inhale more than 1 million fibers per day. The CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health added that inhaling that amount of fibers could result in five lung cancer deaths and two asbestosis deaths for every 1,000 workers over the course of a lifetime.

For those who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer that can be linked to asbestos exposure caused by a product or former employer, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Contact an experienced mesothelioma attorney to learn more about your rights, and to see if pursuing a mesothelioma settlement is in your best interest.