Asbestos is banned in most industrialized countries, including every country in the European Union. So why not the United States? Before diving into the political, legal, and historical reasoning behind this, it’s important to understand what asbestos is and how it can cause harm. Asbestos is a group of minerals consisting of silicate. They can be released into the atmosphere, causing humans to inhale it and potentially suffer it’s long-term consequences. Asbestos can be found in fire-resistant material as well as mechanical brake linings. Many buildings, especially those built before the 1970’s, consist of heavy toxic asbestos elements that can severely impact construction workers and demolitionists.
It is completely legal to import asbestos into the United States and use it on any product as long as it does not make up more than 1% of it. The regulations were set in motion in the 1970’s, when asbestos was found to contain elements that could lead to diseases such as lung cancer. The asbestos injury lawyer was created and started protecting those who suffered from it at the hands of weak and greedy corporate safety guidelines, most often affecting blue-collar workers and tenants. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration led the forefront, introducing strict limits on its exposure. Many people to this day believe that the agencies’ robust stance on asbestos eliminated it all together, but almost the opposite remains true. Not much has changed since then, and even though asbestos is much more regulated, it is still being produced.
Today, the Asbestos Ban and Phase-Out Rule remains the best hope of completely banning asbestos. Many attempts were made before but powerful lobbying groups made strong counter-arguments, citing the “death by regulation” market loss and further pointed to unemployment rates and overall economic losses. Additionally, The World Health Organization has been making its own moves for a international ban, seeking to end the number of growing mesothelioma cases.