Almost every day it seems like there are more and more stories of asbestos exposure coming out in the news. In addition to the big asbestos stories – like the asbestos found in the Hoboken, NJ, train terminal after the crash last year – there are daily stories, mostly in local newspapers and websites, about exposures to asbestos happening all around us.
For example, in just the last week asbestos was found:
- In the Reitz Union Arts and Crafts Center at the University of Florida
- At the Metrolina Warehouse in Davidson, North Carolina
- In an undeveloped patch of land known as “Roe 8” in Washington State
And these are just stories in the United States. If you expand the search worldwide, you quickly come across similar stories in Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere. Even the tiny island nation of Trinidad & Tobago can’t escape asbestos!
So what’s going on here? Is there more asbestos exposure going on than ever before? Or is there the same amount of asbestos that there always has been, and we’re just more aware of it?
There IS More Asbestos (and Asbestos Products)
While asbestos production has been declining over the last couple decades, it is far from going extinct. Around sixty countries have banned the toxic chemical completely – including all of the European Union member nations – but that’s still less than one-third of the 196 countries around the world. And some of the biggest nations, including the China, Russia, India, and the United States, have not issued a ban.
All of this means that there is more asbestos being mined, exported, imported, and used to make a wide variety of products, from insulation and roofing tiles to brake components and gaskets. In fact, for some countries, especially developing nations, it is still considered big business. The amount of money involved in maintaining the asbestos industry makes it a very lucrative and powerful lobbying machine, which means it is likely to be around for a long time.
So, as long as companies and their shareholders can make a profit from asbestos in its various forms, we will continue to have new asbestos products and applications. Until we stop pumping asbestos into the economy and environment, we will have no chance at stopping mesothelioma and the other life-threatening diseases it causes.
We ARE More Aware of Asbestos Dangers!
While asbestos continues to be mined and used, the good news is that we are more successful than ever in getting the word out about the dangers this deadly substance poses to those who are exposed to it. There is still a lot of work to be done – especially since a lot of people wrongfully believe that asbestos is banned in the United States and other countries – but we are without doubt making progress.
At the Mesothelioma + Asbestos Awareness Center, we are dedicated to continually driving awareness about asbestos exposure to anyone and everyone who will listen. Our mission is twofold, to help those who have developed mesothelioma and other diseases because of their exposure to asbestos, and to educate the public about the fact that asbestos is still a problem in 21st Century America – and that there is something we can do about that fact!
So, in a way, all of these stories about asbestos discoveries and exposures is a good thing, because it shows that media outlets and their audiences are listening. They are starting to wake up to the dangers of asbestos and join us in the effort to inform the public at large about what can be done to eliminate the deadly material from our lives altogether.