Scientists have known for decades that asbestos can cause deadly lung diseases, and the substance has been mostly banned in the United States since 1989. So, why are people still coming down with asbestosis, mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases?
There are a number of reasons. One is that asbestos was once commonly used in vinyl flooring, insulation and concrete, and is still present in many buildings. Over the years, as the buildings are damaged, altered or otherwise disturbed, asbestos fibers can break off, get into the air, and enter people’s lungs, where they can cause a variety of terrible health problems. Another reason is that asbestos can still be used in some types of manufacturing in the United States, where workers are exposed to it. Asbestos is also still commonly used in parts of the developing world.
Whatever the reasons, asbestos continues to be a serious health risk decades after the United States started to crack down on the use of the substance. In fact, some studies show that deaths from asbestos-related diseases have been on the rise in recent years. Nearly 40,000 Americans died from asbestos-related occupational diseases in 2016, and some studies suggest the statistics have badly undercounted the real number.
Those who have become sick because of asbestos, or families who have lost a loved one because of it, are left with staggering medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering and other damages. They may be able to recover compensation for their losses through a personal injury lawsuit based on the theory of product liability. Individuals and families who have suffered due to asbestos can learn more about their legal options by speaking with a personal injury attorney who has experience in asbestos-related litigation.