EPA Opts to Discontinue Examining Deadly Asbestos in Older Buildings

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Our president and his nominee, Scott Pruitt, head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), may have made a decision that could negatively impact the health and lives of everyone in America. The issue, in this case, is asbestos. Keep in mind that opposition to dangerous asbestos is nonpartisan, and so is the extensive research that proves it can be fatal to humans. This threat to our health does not discriminate at all.

UNEDUCATED OPINION GUIDES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION CHOICES

Roughly 30 years ago, Trump voiced his contrary opinion in support of building with asbestos, and he claimed that asbestos poisoning is nothing more than some mob conspiracy.

Now, cut to our present day where he is now president, and we find that the EPA (headed by his own nominee) has decided to no longer assess buildings that likely contain harmful asbestos.

This is a real concern since collaborative and extensive epidemiological research has been conducted, gathered, and analyzed worldwide over almost a millennium by the World Health Organization and other notable sources. They all have come to the conclusion that asbestos is actually a fatal carcinogen, and it is undeniably linked to several deadly diseases including lung cancer and mesothelioma.

WHAT IS ASBESTOS?

Asbestos is a tiny bundle of fibers that are thinner than human hair and made up of six naturally occurring minerals, and it has caused over 11,000 deaths in almost a decade. The justification for its continued use over the past 100 years is that it is incredibly useful for a variety of industries because it can be stretched and weaved, and it is resistant to fire, heat, and corrosion. Furthermore, it doesn’t conduct electricity.

Asbestos is not a new material. It’s been in use for over 5,000 years, but really picked up around the 1800s and early 1900s, which is around the time of the industrial revolution. It was most widely used in the 1970s. The European Union and member states have banned its use in products since 2005. Some countries (such as the United States) have enacted various strict regulations, but some countries like Russia have continued to use it like normal. In fact, asbestos mining has been vital for the survival of some Russian cities. The use of asbestos has been continuously declining in America, but it is still a part of older constructions and other items in our everyday lives.

Asbestos is in everyday items:

  • Pipe insulation (such as steam lines)
  • Building materials
  • Floor and ceiling tiles
  • Vehicle brakes and clutches
  • Various ship items
  • Transport and waste disposal
  • Manufactured products
  • Building demolitions
  • Insulation
  • Fireproofing
  • Roof shingles
  • Drywall
  • Cement

DANGERS OF ASBESTOS

Honestly, asbestos is completely safe if it is not disturbed, but the problem occurs when it is disrupted so that it gets into the atmosphere, and particularly if it is inhaled. It can also be a problem if it is ingested through drinking fluids. The tiny (almost undetectable) fibers can get trapped in the lung tissues where it will cause aggravation, inflammation,  and scarring. When people inhale asbestos fibers, it can cause serious health concerns, such as:

ASBESTOSIS: Asbestos fibers can scar up the lungs, creating stiff scar tissue that heavily restricts breathing ability. It can cause loss of lung function and it tends to progress into disability and death.

LUNG CANCER: The possibility that asbestos could be linked to lung cancer started in 1935 when many lung cancer cases emerged among workers that already had asbestosis.

MESOTHELIOMA: This is a deadly cancer that is strongly linked to asbestos. The first case of asbestos linked to a mesothelioma-like tumor was in 1943, and by 1949 asbestos was linked to cancer in the Encyclopedia Britannica. The Journal of the American Medical Association also found concluded that occupational cancer and asbestos are linked. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has also determined that there is sufficient evidence that mesothelioma is caused by asbestos. In fact, 80% of mesothelioma cases are due to asbestos.

A 2012  report by the World Health Organization says:

“There is sufficient evidence in humans for the carcinogenicity of all forms of asbestos (chrysotile, crocidolite, amosite, tremolite, actinolite, and anthophyllite). Asbestos causes mesothelioma and cancer of the lung, larynx, and ovary. Also, positive associations have been observed between exposure to all forms of asbestos and cancer of the pharynx, stomach, and colorectum.”

TAKE ACTION

Regardless of what any politicians might have to say, it is important to seriously consider what experts have reported about asbestos, mesothelioma, or any other associated health condition. If you or someone you care about are worried about exposure to asbestos, particularly at work, then it is wise to report this to the employer and a health and safety representative. It may be necessary to reach out to OSHA for more information. They also offer inspections. If you want support and guidance along the way, it would be worth your while to consult a personal injury attorney near you.

https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/substances/asbestos/asbestos-fact-sheethttps://www.mesothelioma.com/mesothelioma/statistics/https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/asbestos/index.htmlhttps://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/noa/where_is_asbestos_found.htmlhttp://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Monographs/vol100C/mono100C.pdf#page=233
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