Garden Grove, CA, August 23rd, 2011 -- Last month, a jury awarded a former commercial painter and handyman $8.5 million dollars in a settlement over asbestos exposure. The plaintiff has asbestos mesothelioma that he claimed resulted from repeated exposure to asbestos containing materials. Named in the lawsuit were a number of major companies that the suit claimed knew of the dangers associated with their products, but neglected to provide appropriate warnings.
Asbestos is a mineral fiber that has been used commonly in a variety of building construction materials for insulation and as a fire-retardant. When asbestos-containing materials are damaged or disturbed by repair, remodeling or demolition activities, microscopic fibers can become airborne. If inhaled into the lungs these fibers can cause significant health problems.
According to the National Cancer Institute, “In the late 1970s, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) banned the use of asbestos in wallboard patching compounds and gas fireplaces because the asbestos fibers in these products could be released into the environment during use. In addition, manufacturers of electric hairdryers voluntarily stopped using asbestos in their products in 1979. In 1989, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned all new uses of asbestos; however, uses developed before 1989 are still allowed.”
Today, the removal and disposal of asbestos is highly regulated and individuals and companies are subject to prosecution if asbestos regulations are not followed. “Not only are suspect materials usually required by law to be tested, but the process is quick, accurate and affordable,” reported Ben Sublasky, National Director of Client Services for LA Testing and EMSL Analytical, a leading asbestos and indoor air quality (IAQ) testing laboratory. “Unfortunately in past years many of these regulations were not in place and society is still seeing the results of lung cancers and mesothelioma from people exposed to these deadly fibers in the past.”
EMSL has sponsored a public outreach video on the dangers associated with asbestos in the home. It can be seen at:
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