Products That You Might Not Know Still Contain Asbestos Today
If you think asbestos is banned in the U.S., think again. From 1973 to 1978, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) did a good job of banning everything from asbestos pipe and asbestos block insulation to the use of asbestos in artificial fireplace embers and wall patching compounds.
In 1989, the EPA even managed to issue a final rule under Section 6 of Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) banning most asbestos-containing products. Unfortunately, the ban didn’t last long.
Asbestos is basically a naturally occurring compound. Manufacturers like to use it in various products due to its flexibility and ability to withstand extreme heat.
In fact, the compound occurs in the form of microfibers, meaning it’s not easy to identify it with naked eyes. The use of asbestos was banned back in the 1970s after researchers found out that it was the major cause of lung cancer (popularly known as Mesothelioma).
However, the ban was not comprehensive because it only affected just a few products. As a matter of fact, asbestos is still being used in this day and age despite the horrifying findings.
The law clearly states that anyone that has been exposed to the natural compound should sue the responsible party and get compensation.
But before you get started with the petition, you must first identify the products that might have exposed you to asbestos.
Keep in mind that asbestos is the only known trigger of mesothelioma. Here is a list of products that usually contain traces of asbestos fiber.
Asbestos can still be found in automatic transmission components, brake blocks, clutch facings, disk brake pads, drum brake linings, friction materials, and gaskets.
Mechanics who repair these automobiles are the most vulnerable because they are more likely to inhale the fibers while carrying out routine maintenance.
The risks are real. Retired mechanic Shannon Groves says people didn’t know about the consequences of inhaling brake dust back when he was a young boy helping out in his father’s garage in Russell, Ont., southeast of Ottawa.
Nearly two years ago, Groves was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a deadly lung cancer caused by exposure to asbestos fibres.
Doctors told Groves, 38, that his asbestos exposure was likely due to decades of working with brakes.
“Usually this cancer is diagnosed in your 60s or 70s,” he says, referring to the long latency period. But having worked in the shop as a kid, he says, “I’ve got my 30 years in already.”
Fire Prevention Products
Prevention is a major concern in all quarters. College and high school students are at high risk of being exposed to asbestos.
This is because the compound is used in reinforcing laboratory equipment and tables with the aim of shielding them from the potential danger of flammable chemicals.
Other products that are believed to contain asbestos include fire blankets, fire-resistant coatings and fire curtains. Once the materials are exposed to flames, the asbestos in them is released into the air.
The fibers then get trapped into your lungs as when you breathe.
Asbestos was first discovered in samples taken from houses that were built before 1980.
In fact, the owners of such houses were ordered to vacate them to avoid contracting mesothelioma. There are actually many homes that were abandoned as a result of these research findings.
However, asbestos is still being used these days to make a variety of building materials. Some of these materials include tiles, wall plaster, paint, and insulation.
Fertilizer and Potting Soil
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), vermiculite (which may contain a type of naturally occurring asbestos called tremolite-actinolite) has been used in some potting soil and fertilizer. The IDPH says the mineral is used in potting soil for plant growth, and it appears as bright gold or silver flakes.
Although talc isn’t made with asbestos today, Consumer Safety says, “in nature, talc deposits occur together with asbestos, and mined talc can easily become contaminated with asbestos.”
Companies from Justice and Claire’s to Johnson & Johnson have been sued over talc products that have been found to contain asbestos.
If you have been exposed to asbestos, see your doctor right away. Although asbestos fibers cannot be detected in chest X-rays, early signs of lung disease can.
Lung function tests and high- resolution CAT scans can also detect changes in your lungs.