Asbestos is a naturally-occurring, fibrous mineral that has been used in various consumer products for decades. In fact, its use dates back more than 4,000 years ago. However, starting in the late 1800s, it became well understood in medicine, science, and industry that asbestos dust from any source was deadly. In addition, many asbestos manufacturers were aware of the serious health issues surrounding asbestos but kept the information secret.
Asbestos is Regulated, But Not Entirely Banned
Even though asbestos is banned in some situations by certain federal laws, it is still completely legal for many products to contain asbestos. For example, federal law does not ban the manufacturing, distribution or importation of the following products, even if they contain asbestos:
- Vinyl floor tile
- Roof coatings
- Disk brake pads
- Brake blocks
- Drum brake linings
- Automatic transmission components
- Cement shingle
Most Common Form of Cancer Related to Asbestos Exposure is Mesothelioma
When the fibers of asbestos are inhaled or ingested, they become lodged in small areas within the body, eventually causing a deadly cancer called mesothelioma. While the regulations mentioned above may have decreased some threat of asbestos exposure, according to the United States Air Force, there are still 3300 new mesothelioma cases reported each year in the United States. This is 3300 too many, and the disease is so deadly that patients often only have mere months to live after receiving a diagnosis. A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also indicates that we could see an increase in U.S. deaths related to mesothelioma. Earlier this year, the government agency stated that the U.S. annual death rate from mesothelioma had increased 4.8 percent.