The history of the use of asbestos is a complicated one riddled with many different laws. While the U.S. government started to take drastic action as early as the 1970s, there is still no country-wide asbestos ban in the U.S. Lobbyists and pioneers continue to push for more asbestos legislation; however, several bills introduced in the late 2000s and early 2010s have not yet become laws. Asbestos legislation aims to not only curb but practically eliminate unnecessary risks related to these hazardous materials.
Toxic Substance Contract Act
There are very few asbestos laws save for the Toxic Substance Contract Act of the United States, which was passed in 1976. The law regulates asbestos abatement, declares asbestos to be a dangerous material, and limits the manufacturing, production, and use of asbestos-containing materials in the U.S. Although the TSCA was amended several times in the past few years to address asbestos as a hazardous material, the amendments did nothing as far as offering federally authorized funding directly for asbestos-related illnesses. It is also not a complete ban on asbestos.
Legal actions and amendments have been attempted to ensure a complete ban. For instance, there was H.R. 3339, which had also been referred to as the Bruce Vento Ban Asbestos and Prevent Mesothelioma Act of 2007. Vento, who was a state legislator and a member of Congress representing the 4th District of Minnesota, was also a schoolteacher and a victim of pleural mesothelioma, dying from it in late 2000. In May 2008, after a years-long battle, the legislative bill to ban the use of all asbestos was introduced in Congress. The asbestos bill would also have increased federal funding for research of mesothelioma treatments to fight against asbestos-related illnesses. It unfortunately did not succeed, and several attempts have been made since to help ensure a ban.
Tons of Asbestos Materials Are Still Used Today
While asbestos is considered a highly carcinogenic contaminant, the U.S. Geological Survey reported that 2,000 metric tons (about 4.4 million pounds) of asbestos was used in 2006. The Department of Commerce also estimated that about $100 million was spent on importing brake parts each year, with these parts allegedly showing traces of asbestos exposure.
Asbestos Legal Facts and Statistics
While taking into account several asbestos laws, the following facts are still true:
- There is no known safe inhalation level of asbestos exposure.
- Products imported from foreign areas may be subject to few to no asbestos regulations, resulting in asbestos-tainted products being imported to the United States.
- New uses of asbestos were essentially banned with the TSCA, but asbestos continues to be imported and used in consumer and industrial products.
- Europe enacted a widespread asbestos ban in 2005.
To learn more about asbestos legislation, contact Mesothelioma Treatment Centers. A well-versed attorney can discuss treatment and legal options with you. A knowledgeable lawyer will know how to navigate these difficult laws and how to help you make a necessary case today.