Asbestos in the Workplace

Toxic Tort Attorneys

Asbestos Exceeds Exposure Limits, Leaving Workers Vulnerable to Injuries and Illness

Asbestos, a widely used material once heralded for its affordability and versatile uses, has proven problematic for years. Before 1980, it was commonly used in homes and commercial properties but is no longer the go-to industry standard due to its health risks, including cancers. The last asbestos mine in the U.S. closed in 2022. However, its manufacturing and exports still persist and remain profitable for many countries around the world.

Asbestos is Still in Use in the United States

Despite the known risks, asbestos is still in use across the United States. Cement asbestos makes up 90% of all global asbestos use and is allowed for import into many countries. Over 60 countries have banned asbestos altogether, but the U.S. still allows the import and use of the dangerous material in small quantities. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently contemplating a total ban on asbestos, cement, and other existing uses. Without a complete ban, products may legally contain up to 1% of asbestos and continue to leave the U.S. public at risk.

Studies Show Asbestos is Unsafe, Despite What the Building Industry Says

A recent study by Occupational Knowledge International (OK International) found that any asbestos, even unlimited quantities, is not safe, despite what the building industry has said. Construction activities, such as cutting an asbestos cement pipe, lead to 50 times the exposure as recommended by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) short-term limit.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has estimated that, annually, 1.3 million employees in the construction industry are exposed to asbestos on the job. Employers have a legal responsibility to protect their workers from asbestos exposure, but may not always comply with the law or fully understand the existing level of asbestos. Homeowners working on DIY projects may also unknowingly expose themselves to the harmful material, leaving them vulnerable to serious health risks.

The litigation for cement pipe asbestos harm is growing. In the case of Abarra v Ameron Int’l Corp. (OR, 2022), a widow alleged husband's asbestos exposure from working with asbestos cement pipes at Ameron factory led to his death, with an award of $30M. In the case of Constantine v Lenox Instrument Co. (PA, 2022), a draftsman designer died from mesothelioma, citing regular exposure to asbestos-containing components, including a heat shield made from asbestos-cement transite board. The family was awarded $2.22 million.

The OK International study stresses that the findings disprove the industry’s assurance that using asbestos is safe, at any level. The study raises red flags and urgently calls for a ban on all asbestos cement products, shockingly still being installed in millions of homes and commercial buildings. The study also shows that there are not enough systems and safety protocols in place to reduce airborne fibers, which directly compromises workers' health, as well as that of the general public.

The U.S. Struggles with Long-Lasting Asbestos Use

Asbestos-related diseases range from lung cancer to asbestosis and mesothelioma. Concrete asbestos poses a threat to the public as the U.S. is struggling with 600,000 miles of aging asbestos water pipes. They require immediate replacements, yet they expose workers to airborne asbestos, putting them at high risk of illness and death.

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Consult with Our Toxic Tort Team

If you, a loved one, or a client are dealing with a serious illness, such as cancer, or death related to asbestos-related exposure, contact our Toxic Tort Team to discuss how we can help. 

McEldrew Purtell specializes in both Toxic Exposure and Workplace Injuries, making us well-equipped to investigate these intricate cases and attain the best result for our clients. Contact our Team to discuss your case, co-counsel or Referrals.