U.S. Acting Surgeon General States There Is No Safe Level of Asbestos Exposure

Exposure to Asbestos in Any Amount Increases Risk of Cancer

September 18, 2009 — In a statement made in recognition of National Asbestos Awareness Week this year, Acting Surgeon General, Steven K. Galson, acknowledged, "... there is no level of asbestos exposure that is known to be safe and minimizing your exposure will minimize your risk of developing asbestos–related disease." He went on to say, "... it is important for all Americans to be aware of asbestos levels in their environment."

Environmental Exposure to Asbestos

Asbestos naturally occurs in the environment as fibrous minerals. Three of the most common types of asbestos are chrysotile, amosite and crocidolite. Due to the strength and flexibility of asbestos fibers, and their resistance to heat, asbestos has been used since Roman times in clothing, household and industrial products.

Up until the passage of the Clean Air Act (Asbestos National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants [NESHAP]) and the Toxic Substances Control Act (Asbestos Ban and Phaseout), products containing asbestos could be found in construction, automotive, gardening and small appliances—any product where heat build–up, fluctuations in temperature or the possibility of fire posed a problem.

Today, the dangerous mineral fibers are still used in some products including asbestos brake pads for cars and trucks. Remodeling or demolition of older buildings containing asbestos construction materials may also carry the risk of exposure to asbestos.

More asbestos information:

  • Asbestos: A Hazard to Health in All Forms
  • Many Industries at Risk for Asbestos Exposure
  • Is Asbestos in My Home?

Asbestos Disease—Mesothelioma, Lung Cancer and Asbestosis

Asbestos exposure poses severe health risks. Once breathed in, the fibers may lodge in the lungs or be dispersed to other areas of the body through the blood. Years after the initial exposure, diseases such as the asbestos cancer, mesothelioma, may develop. Other asbestos diseases that may develop are lung cancer, other types of cancer and asbestosis.

For more information on asbestos disease:

  • Malignant Mesothelioma: Rare, But Deadly
  • Asbestos Lung Cancer Among Workers
  • Asbestosis Can Be Severely Disabling

With over 25 years experience in asbestos litigation, our asbestos attorneys are here to help.