Toxic Topics - Asbestos

Asbestos is a mineral, it is found in the natural environment in rock. It should have stayed there. Beginning in the 1930's and continuing on for more than four decades, asbestos companies decided to use this mineral in their products. Asbestos disease follows the trail of exposure. Asbestos disease is not limited to any one particular craft or trade. Asbestos has been unknowingly carried home on the clothes of workers resulting in disease among the wives who cleaned the clothes and their children. It is a sad commentary that tens of thousands of diseased people have paved the trail of asbestos exposure. During the time companies sold asbestos, it was known to them and kept secret that the material could kill. The unsuspecting public they sold their products to are the victims.

Asbestos & Mesothelioma Overview
Asbestos products include brake and clutch linings, water pipe and roofing materials.

Studies have shown that asbestos particles in the air can cause mesothelioma lung cancer and lung disease asbestosis, and many former and all new uses of asbestos in the U.S. have been banned.

If you or someone you know is suffering from lung cancer and/or lung disease asbestosis, mesothelioma or other asbestos related diseases caused by exposure to asbestos or asbestos containing products, you may be eligible to file a claim.

Asbestos Law: Exposure to asbestos can cause Mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer, and Asbestosis, a noncancerous scarring of the lungs by asbestos fibers.

Asbestos products liability lawsuits have arisen most often from two situations: 1) claims brought against suppliers of raw asbestos fiber, where employees of manufacturers of asbestos products actually or allegedly had contracted asbestos-related diseases as a result of exposure to asbestos supplied to the manufacturer, and 2) claims against manufacturers of products brought where insulators and other asbestos workers allegedly or actually had contracted asbestos-related diseases as a result of exposure to the manufactured products.

The major defense put forward by companies sued for asbestos exposure was that the company was unaware of the dangers of asbestos, though this defense doesn't often prevail. Some manufacturers also contend that lung damage was caused by smoking, because asbestos and lung injuries are similar.

Asbestos law is a relatively new field of law. The first asbestos lawsuit was not filed until 1966. The first legal victory for an asbestosis sufferer was not until 1973. In the 1980s, however, during a wave of asbestosis cases, many companies began filing bankruptcies to avoid paying huge punitive damages. Within a few years, the entire asbestos textile industry was in bankruptcy, as were several major asbestos insulation manufacturers. Nevertheless, asbestos cases continued; instead of the manufacturers of asbestos bringing lawsuits, however, those exposed to asbestos began bringing lawsuits. Asbestos products were banned in the United States in 1989.

In more recent developments, by March 2003, the Supreme Court had ruled that mental anguish damages resulting from the fear of developing cancer may be recovered under the Federal Employers' Liability Act by a railroad worker suffering from the actionable injury asbestosis caused by work-related exposure to asbestos. However, emotional distress damages may not be recovered under the Federal Employers' Liability Act by disease-free asbestos-exposed workers

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates the general public's exposure to asbestos in buildings, drinking water and the environment.

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