The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has classified asbestos as a known carcinogen. People who have had exposure to significant amounts of this chemical can develop mesothelioma. This type of cancer can impact the tissue that covers the lungs and abdomen. Asbestos can also lead to lung cancer.
Scientists have known about the dangers of asbestos for many years now, and its use in residential and public buildings is regulated under the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA). However, it is still not fully banned in the U.S., as it is in Europe. While asbestos is no longer produced in our country, it can still be found in a number of construction materials, including electrical wiring, insulation, ceiling tiles and vinyl flooring, because it improves their durability and resistance to fire.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has responsibility for enforcing the TSCA, restricting or banning chemicals as it determines is warranted. Last year, a revision to the act mandated that the EPA reevaluate the dangers of some 90 chemicals that are widely used but potentially harmful to humans and/or the environment. Asbestos is one of the first ten chemicals being reevaluated.
It remains to be seen what impact the proposed cuts to the EPA by the Trump administration, as well as the president’s and Congress’s promises to roll back regulations on businesses will impact regulations on asbestos and other toxic substances. However, if you or a loved one is suffering from mesothelioma or lung cancer that you believe is the result of asbestos, it’s wise to seek guidance from an experienced Illinois attorney to determine what your options are for seeking compensation to help cover your financial needs.
Source: Mother Jones, “Ways Trump’s Administration Could Literally Make America More Toxic,” Jenny Luna, April 17, 2017