As Americans, we often pride ourselves on our problem solving skills. Whether relying on technology, hard work, or old-fashioned common sense, we are taught from an early age that every problem has a solution. While some would argue that this belief is a platitude or oversimplification, our history is full of many success stories across all industries. We have sent our citizens to the moon, developed artificial intelligence, found cures for diseases, and addressed a whole host of other problems.
One issue that has not been fully resolved in modern society is the danger of asbestos. Americans still develop mesothelioma, asbestosis, and other health problems related to asbestos exposure. In this article, we will discuss some of the steps that could help eliminate asbestos-related disease.
Scope of the Problem
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 125 million people around the world are exposed to asbestos in their workplace. Some workers, such as firemen and demolition experts, travel to other places to work and are exposed to asbestos there. Some people are even exposed to asbestos in their homes.
Unfortunately, many people still get sick and die as a result of their exposure to asbestos. And while the United States may be in a better position than some of the other countries monitored by the WHO, we are not immune to the danger. According to Asbestos Nation, an EWG Action Fund analysis found that 12,000-15,000 people die every year in the United States from illnesses related to asbestos exposure. This does not include the many others who survive but remain ill.
Important Steps to Help Eliminate Asbestos-Related Disease
Below are some steps that would help eliminate illness and death related to asbestos exposure.
- Banning asbestos use: This may sound obvious, but it is a real solution to the problem. In fact, some countries have already banned asbestos. There are alternative products, such as polyurethane foam, PBI fiber, fiberglass, and flour fillers that can take the place of asbestos in construction and other industries. While it is a huge step, banning future use of asbestos does not entirely eliminate the problem. Unfortunately, many older buildings, products, and other items already contain asbestos. Therefore, exposure would still exist for some people.
- Asbestos abatement: This is the process of dealing with asbestos when it is found. For example, an inspection may show that an older home or building contains asbestos. It is important for trained professionals to make a decision on how to best deal with the asbestos. Sometimes, it needs to be removed. In other instances, if the asbestos is not being disturbed, it may be determined safer to do nothing. Finally, in some instances, it is determined best to put a barrier around the asbestos.
- Education and training: If it is known that an employee will be exposed to asbestos, it is paramount that education and training be provided about the dangers of exposure and how to deal with exposure as safely as possible. All OSHA standards and safety protocols should be observed and followed.
- Stop smoking: If you know you will be exposed to asbestos, research demonstrates that smoking increases the chances of harm.
- Medical innovation: Professionals in medicine and science are always looking for new treatments for disease. At least two immunotherapies for mesothelioma are currently being tested.
Call with Questions
Everyone is hoping for a brighter future for those who suffer from illnesses related to asbestos exposure. Perhaps there will even come a day when asbestos is no longer present in the United States at all.
Unfortunately, for now, there are still many who are sick and suffering with asbestos-related illness. Moreover, many others who were exposed to asbestos in the past will develop problems in the future.
If you or a loved one has developed mesothelioma or other medical problems due to asbestos exposure, you will likely have many questions. The experienced attorneys at Nelson MacNeil Rayfield are here to answer them. We help people all over Oregon recover the damages to which they are entitled. We believe it is important to hold wrongdoers accountable for their actions so that everyone in Oregon will be safer.