Asbestos used in the manufacture of building insulation was banned by the United States in the 1970s, yet cases of cancer resulting from exposure to asbestos remain a problem in Tennessee and throughout the country. Case of mesothelioma, the cancer most commonly caused by asbestos, were expected to drop after 2005, but the Centers for Disease Control reports that the numbers have risen slightly.
Asbestos is present in many building materials
More than a dozen building products, including items like vinyl flooring, roofing shingles, siding and more, still contain asbestos. Manufacturers included this mineral in many building products because it makes these items stronger and retardant to fire.
Cancer develops decades after exposure
Mesothelioma cancer is rare and can take decades to develop. The cancer occurs when individuals breathe in the microscopic fibers, which can stick to the clothing of workers who handle materials that contain the mineral. More than 80% of mesothelioma cases involve people who have experienced direct exposure to asbestos while others come from indirect exposure.
Building demolition responsible for many cases
As long as asbestos is contained, it’s not dangerous. Once materials containing it are broken open, however, the fibers are released, fly through the air and enter people’s lungs. Many construction projects appear not to have proper containment procedures: 20% of air samples at construction sites taken by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in 2003 indicated levels of asbestos that exceeded safe limits.
Possible workplace negligence
Construction workers appear to remain at high risk for mesothelioma and other cancers associated with the mineral. Workers in these industries or their close family members who develop asbestos-related cancer may have a case for a personal injury lawsuit if they are able to prove negligence involving asbestos containment.