Asbestos and the Law

by RyanD on September 11, 2013

For many years asbestos was used in a number of residential and commercial building materials. However, scientists discovered that asbestos can lead to serious health problems like mesothelioma and lung cancer. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decided to regulate the use of asbestos to reduce health risks. The reason asbestos was widely used is due to its natural ability to resist heat. This made it into a popular product for insulation, vehicle brakes, and floor tiles. Limited exposure may not cause any health effects, but heavy exposure is likely to cause a number of health problems.

Why Asbestos is Hazardous
The EPA and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have both deemed asbestos a health hazard. Regulations have been put in place to protect people from inhaling asbestos fibers and developing serious health problems. If fibers are inhaled they will become lodged in the lungs. Over time, the fibers cause a serious infection by causing scar-like tissue to occur in the lungs. This will make it hard to breathe properly, and most people end up suffering from loss of lung capacity. Asbestos will cause cancer of the lungs, mesothelioma, and several other lung problems.

Worker Exposure to Asbestos
Since asbestos has been used in a number of industries, there is an increased risk for certain workers. People involved in certain industries, such as construction and shipping, are at risk for exposure. The standards set forth by OSHA are designed to reduce the risk of worker exposure. By law, employers are required to provide their employees with the right protective equipment to reduce the risk of health problems related to asbestos exposure. The goal is to limit the amount of exposure to keep people from falling ill. Employers will provide updates to OSHA on exposure and, coupled with modern regulations, certain training programs are used to make employees aware of the hazards. This is to help people understand the risk that their job entails and to make sure they know what can happen if they do develop mesothelioma or other serious health conditions due to asbestos exposure.

Older commercial structures are usually retrofitted to remove asbestos materials. Homeowners can have asbestos safely removed from their home of there is a risk of asbestos. Undisturbed asbestos won’t cause health problems, but if it is disturbed in any way, there is a risk for fatal health problems.

Correct Handling
Each state has their own regulations related to the OSHA standards. It is important to understand the rules regarding how to handle asbestos. Correct safety material must be worn to protect yourself from inhaling any asbestos fibers or having them land on your skin. The way the asbestos is removed and then disposed of must also meet with state and federal requirements. This will reduce the risk of the asbestos fibers becoming airborne, potentially exposing other people. There have been many prominent cases where asbestos has gotten into the air, exposing millions of people. The attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001 exposed millions of people to asbestos since it was used in the building materials of the towers. Several lawsuits have been filed as a result of exposure to asbestos. It is for reasons like this that the government has established such harsh regulations pertaining to the use of asbestos in construction.


This article was written together with Robert Tritter, an aspiring lawyer who hopes to further inform you about legal matters. He writes this on behalf of Shrader Law, your number one choice when looking for a Lawyer for Mesothelioma. Check out their website today and see how they can help you!




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