Defending Against Asbestos
For many years, a dangerous carcinogen called asbestos was used in the construction of homes, schools, and other buildings. Linked to mesothelioma and lung cancer, asbestos has long been disavowed from the building industry. However, its negative effects remain with us to this day; because asbestos still lingers in older buildings—including older homes—it causes 15,000 deaths per year in the United States.
This year, new federal laws have been passed to improve public safety in regards to asbestos and other toxic substances. The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act is tougher on asbestos than previous laws were and also allows the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to work towards banning the carcinogen, entirely.
For now, asbestos remains a public health hazard that all citizens should be aware of. By educating yourself on where you might encounter asbestos, you can mitigate the risk of being harmed by it. Asbestos is most commonly found in the following places:
- Homes: Renovating an old home is likely to turn up asbestos. If you own an old home, consult with safety professionals before starting home improvement projects. If you rent an old home, it is your landlord’s responsibility to keep you safe from asbestos.
- Workplaces: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations require work environments to be safe for employees, which means protecting them from asbestos and other dangerous substances. If you work in an old building or suspect that asbestos might be present in your workplace, consult with your employer about safety precautions.
- Schools: One of the most common places to find asbestos is in schools. Because roughly half of United States schools were constructed when asbestos was regularly used, the EPA requires inspections every three years. Further, schools must have a plan in place that outlines how asbestos is being dealt with and how students and staff are being kept safe.
Asbestos is often hiding in plain sight; until it’s disturbed, you may not know it’s present. Understanding the functionality that asbestos has served can help you to locate it within buildings. Common uses of asbestos have included:
- Wall insulation
- Oil and coal furnaces
- Roofing shingles
- Hot water pipe insulation
- Vinyl floor tiles
- Wood-burning stoves
- Textured paint
If you think you that you or a loved one has experienced adverse health effects caused by asbestos or other toxic substances, you may be able to mount a successful case. Contact the Milwaukee personal injury lawyers of Domnitz & Domnitz, S.C. for a free consultation.