Asbestos is a dangerous carcinogen and naturally occurring mineral. Despite the known risks, it is still being used in production in America. And even though asbestos usage is not nearly as prevalent as it was before the 1980s, it continues to pose a threat in new products and in old buildings and homes built during the era when asbestos was widely used in construction and other industries. These two main factors – natural occurrences and manufactured products – mean that people must be responsible for guarding their health, starting with gaining awareness of their surroundings to avoid potential asbestos exposure.
There are five main means of exposure to asbestos to be mindful of—natural disasters, cosmetics products, home renovations, auto mechanics, and serving in the U.S. armed forces.
- Forces of Nature – Any natural disaster that destroys communities can disturb old asbestos building materials, releasing the fibrous mineral. This disturbance can make the carcinogenic fibers airborne. Then there are the hazards of cleaning up afterward, which requires homeowners and relief crews to handle asbestos-contaminated debris. Some of the most common forces of nature that can result in asbestos exposure are wildfires, hurricanes, and tornados—all of which involve damaging winds or flooding that are destructive in their own right, but even more so when asbestos is involved.
- Home Renovation – Construction workers, electricians, and even plumbers work with home renovations involving products known to contain asbestos. These products include certain kinds of paint, insulation, wire coating, pipe casing, floor tiles, popcorn ceilings, and roofing materials. These projects become more dangerous when homeowners attempt to perform DIY projects instead of hiring professionals who may easily recognize asbestos hazards and know the proper handling with protective equipment. While professionals may be aware of the safety protocols, there is still no safe level of contact with asbestos.
- Car Mechanics – Mechanics who work on luxury imported cars or vintage cars built before current regulations may face asbestos exposure. Additionally, brake cleaning techniques can release asbestos into the air, which is risky for the individual and anyone in the vicinity. The asbestos in these vehicles can make shadetree auto maintenance even more dangerous when performed at home. Asbestos is still used because of its heat and friction resilience in brake linings, brake pads, hood lining, clutch discs, transmission parts, valve rings, and gaskets, complicating those common repairs.
- U.S. Military and Navy – Much like the products that construction workers and mechanics come across that carry the legacy of asbestos use, many of those in service face similar exposures to contaminated materials. According to Veterans Affairs, those who served in the Middle East are entitled to compensation for their exposure to asbestos from old buildings damaged from bombings typical in wartime. In addition, when the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reviewed the Navy for their efforts to protect naval shipyard workers, it was determined that while the Navy removed some asbestos, there was ultimately a concession that all ships contain some level of asbestos.
- Cosmetics with Talcum Powder – The beauty industry has utilized the soft qualities of talcum powder in their cosmetics despite the tendency for talc, a naturally occurring mineral, to be contaminated with asbestos. This intermingling of minerals results from geological conditions that cause talcum deposits to be in close proximity to asbestos deposits, making contamination more common than expected. Nevertheless, talc is used in a wide range of cosmetics, hygiene goods, and everyday products. In one alarming example, asbestos-contaminated talc was used in an eye shadow pallet marketed to children.
How We Help Victims of Asbestos Exposure
Seek justice with the help of our experienced asbestos attorneys. Our asbestos law firm has represented individuals like you affected by asbestos exposure for over 20 years, aggressively fighting the corporate giants responsible for their dangerous products. If you or a loved one were exposed to asbestos or suffer from a disease caused by asbestos like mesothelioma, we can help.