Washington State May Demand Asbestos Labels

A proposed bill that has already passed the Washington State Legislature may shed a ray of light about how prevalent asbestos still is in the United States.

According to The Spokesman-Review newspaper, senate bill 5458 would require the labeling of asbestos-containing building materials. As a prior story noted, asbestos can be found in common home-construction products where it is listed as “mineral fibers” or chrysotile (white asbestos); it might not be listed at all.

The 5458 bill would require manufacturers, wholesalers, and distributors to place a prominent label indicating the presence of any form of asbestos, including “tremolite, chrysotile (serpentine), crocidolite (riebeckite), anthophyllite, and any of these minerals that have been chemically treated or altered.”

At a minimum, the label would read: “CAUTION! This product contains ASBESTOS which is known to cause cancer and lung disease. Avoid creating dust. Intentionally removing or tampering with this label is a violation of state law.”

The idea for the bill came from the Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency staff, which. among other tasks, ensures that demolition sites don’t release asbestos into the air. “This has been an issue for a while,” said the agency director. “It’s not usually a problem when wallboard goes up or shingles go on, but it can be a problem when they are torn out and release asbestos into the air.”

When airborne, asbestos fibers can be easily inhaled or swallowed. Fibers can then become embedded in the lungs and other internal organs. Scarring leads to health problems, including asbestosis, as well as lung, esophageal, gastrointestinal, laryngeal, and pharyngeal cancers.

The state Senate passed the bill in March; this week the House followed suit in a 65-28 vote. The bill is now awaiting approval by Gov. Jay Inslee.

If you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos and developed mesothelioma or another asbestos-related condition as a result, you may be entitled to financial compensation. A successful mesothelioma lawsuit can help pay medical bills and other expenses. Contact the experienced mesothelioma attorneys at Sokolove Law to get a free case evaluation today.