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Asbestos poses health risks but has still not been banned

There are few substances that have caused more damage to health and public trust in the United States than asbestos. Louisiana has taken the brunt of asbestos' effects, with shipyard workers and industrial insulators often developing mesothelioma or other grave illnesses after prolonged exposure to the dust that the brittle solid creates.

Legal experts believe that claims for financial damages regarding asbestos exposure have amounted to the largest and most expensive series of civil lawsuits in U.S. history. Although the claims may have peaked because there are fewer industrial users of asbestos, the substance has still not been banned in the nation.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) attempted to have the government ban asbestos in the 1980s as the dangers became undeniable. But industry leaders shut down these efforts in 1991 with a claim that it was not as unsafe as it seemed. Asbestos remains in the walls of many buildings and the hulls of many ships as a fire retardant.

When asbestos is in the form of solid tiles or panels, the risk is lower because they do not active create dust. But asbestos removal or mitigation may create dust that carries the fibers into people's lungs and cause problems over time. Demolition workers or people who are constantly around asbestos removal sites are the most likely people to be affected by this process.

An attorney can help determine if a person's situation warrants a lawsuit against the producer or installer of an asbestos product. Legal representation may be one of the most helpful elements of recovering from an asbestos-caused illness.

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