Asbestos has played a role in the production of products ranging from vehicle components to maritime vessels for decades. However, modern medical research has made it clear that asbestos is a human carcinogen.
Any amount of environmental exposure to asbestos increases someone’s risk of developing certain kinds of cancer. Mesothelioma and lung cancer are among the most common cancers associated with asbestos. Lawmakers, hoping to protect both consumers and the workers that produce consumer goods, have implemented regulations about workplace asbestos.
In fact, federal lawmakers have indicated that they will pursue a nationwide ban on asbestos imports and manufacturing. Although you might assume that such an announcement would have a chilling effect on asbestos imports, the opposite has actually been true.
Asbestos Imports have surged this year
Manufacturers, facing regulatory changes, could have chosen to start transitioning away from asbestos-based solutions. Unfortunately, it appears that they have gone the exact opposite route. In 2021, there were roughly 100 metric tons of raw chrysotile asbestos imported into the United States. In the first three months of 2021, businesses had already imported more than that. The United States Trade Commission reported 114 metric tons of asbestos imported between January and March of 2022.
Frantically attempting to import as much as possible and store the asbestos is completely contrary to the spirit of the proposed ban. The goal is to protect workers and reduce industrial dependence on dangerous materials. Companies have taken the opposite approach and will likely continue to expose their workers to asbestos as they process the tons of this mineral substance that they have already imported.
Employers may be liable for asbestos-related illnesses
When companies merely follow the letter of the law while ignoring its spirit or when they knowingly put workers at risk for more profit, they may open themselves up to liability. Workers recently diagnosed with mesothelioma or other asbestos-related medical conditions could potentially bring a claim against their employer or former employer.
Given that mesothelioma in particular may take decades to develop, the company may have since gone out of business. You may need extra support when trying to get compensation for the long-delayed impact of handling asbestos on the job. Holding companies accountable when they expose workers to asbestos can help you cover the cost of your mesothelioma care and continue to support your family despite your health concerns.