For more than a century, industries like construction, manufacturing, and transportation relied on asbestos to provide insulation and fireproofing products, despite awareness by doctors that workers who were exposed to asbestos were likely to face respiratory problems, and worse, as a result of their exposure.
Because it was a durable, low-cost, and extremely flexible insulator, it fit the needs of American businesses from the industrial age forward.
Only in the 1970s did the dangers it posed become recognized by the public, and new regulations over that decade and beyond have limited asbestos use and helped reduce the risk of exposure for millions of American workers.
But there are some applications where asbestos continues to be the best available material, and regulations allow for low levels of asbestos in a number of common products.
In the automotive industry, brake pads and clutches still rely on asbestos for safe, reliable operation of cars and trucks that are driven every day, everywhere in Louisiana. For the average motorist, there is no risk of exposure from these asbestos-containing products, but for those who work in auto maintenance and do-it-yourselfers who change their own brakes, respiratory protection is a must to reduce or prevent asbestos exposure.
In construction, products like cement piping, roofing material, vinyl tile, corrugated sheeting, and some home insulation products may still contain less than 1% asbestos.
As with drivers, the risk to homeowners from these products, once installed, vanishingly small, but workers in construction trades should be educated about potential dangers. Finally, some potting soils contain small amounts of asbestos.
While we live in a much safer world today than we did in earlier decades, we have not been able to completely eliminate potential pathways to asbestos exposure, and asbestos-containing products continue to be sold and used in America.
At The Gertler Law Firm, we protect families dealing with asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma and ensure they have every resource possible at their disposal to fight back against asbestos-caused cancers. Call (504) 581-6411 today for a free consultation with an experienced mesothelioma attorney.