Both the manufacturing and construction industries have used asbestos in consumer goods since the beginning of the 20th Century. It became widely known as a dangerous carcinogen shortly after WWII. Still, it was not until 2002 that the United States ceased mining this mineral. Asbestos continues to be used to this day in manufacturing and can be found in millions of homes, schools and workplaces.
Last year, the U.S. imported 750 tons of the now known carcinogen to produce chlorine. Unfortunately, even though workers are now aware of the danger of asbestos and can take precautions, previous exposure can lead to mesothelioma long after exposure to asbestos has stopped.
Why have so many people been exposed to asbestos?
The carcinogenic properties of asbestos remained unknown or misunderstood for many years. However, when safety concerns arose, some companies continued to use asbestos due to its potential in:
Additionally, it was affordable.
In some cases, choosing products due to their potential cost savings does not affect the end user. But using asbestos in consumer products has had a significant effect on Americans. This is not only evident in increased healthcare costs but also asbestos-related conditions, such as mesothelioma.
Asbestos can have far-reaching effects, long after you discontinue your exposure
You may reduce your chances of developing many forms of cancer by limiting your exposure to the source. However, numerous studies have shown that removing yourself from exposure to asbestos may not decrease your risk of suffering from mesothelioma.
Asbestos fibers are invisible to the naked eye, do not break down by the presence of bacteria and neither dissolve nor evaporate. Therefore, your body cannot break down the fibers that lodge themselves into bodily tissues indefinitely. Over time, these tissues become cancerous.
Legal help available
While you can’t go back and change past exposure, if you do develop an asbestos-related illness legal options can help you pay for medical costs and other expenses. There is approximately $30 billion in trust for victims of asbestos exposure available to those who can show past asbestos exposure.