The Environmental Working Group Action Fund reports that every year in the United States, approximately 10,000 people die from diseases caused by asbestos. This leads many people to wonder about the legality of asbestos.
Asbestos (image from canidoit.org)
Is it legal? In what forms? Is there any place where it’s entirely banned?
Asbestos was recognized as a hazardous pollutant as early as the 1970s. It was mentioned in the 1970 Clean Air Act, Section 112, and the Toxic Substances Control Act have further banned many of its applications. However, the Environmental Protection Agency has never released a general ban on asbestos and its uses. As a result, asbestos remains a hazard for over 1 million workers in the United States, mostly those involved in the building maintenance and construction industries.
In 2001, a group of doctors, scientists, and other US citizens requested that the United States ban the product entirely. Several other countries have asbestos bans, and the US was asked to join them in eliminating this hazard. Despite the available information that indicate the hazards of asbestos, this suggestion has not been implemented. As long as asbestos remains legal, there will continue to be hazardous conditions to construction and maintenance workers.
Additionally, the recent Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act makes it harder than ever for victims of asbestos-related diseases to get financial compensation for their injuries.
We would suggest this asbestos victim advice: those who have been damaged by asbestos can do their part by stepping up and requesting that the government do something about this. Write to your representatives and tell them that banning asbestos is an important cause that they need to address.