May 6, 2013 – While many Americans may believe that the United States has long banned the use of asbestos in building materials because of its link with life-threatening illnesses such as mesothelioma, that is not the case. Although 50 countries have banned importation of the toxic material, the U.S. isn’t one of them. Global asbestos industry lobbying groups have spent close to $100 million and are largely responsible for continued asbestos use which is preserving the asbestos market according to a report this month by the Center for Public Integrity.
Millions of Pounds of Asbestos Imported Into U.S. Every Year
The Center for Public Integrity reported that more than 2.3 million pounds of asbestos was imported into the U.S. in 2012 with all of it coming from Brazil. The sheer size of the shipments concerns public health experts and anti-asbestos activists aware of the potential health risk posed by asbestos. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, current trends show that U.S. asbestos consumption will hold steady at 2 million pounds per year.
A World Health Organization study estimated that 107,000 people die of asbestos-related illnesses and diseases annually. A Center of Public Integrity investigation conducted with the BBC in 2010 showed that the asbestos industry continues to market the material globally with the help of paid lobbyists and scientists. Attempts to ban asbestos use in the United States have failed over the years, although its use has dropped. Much of the asbestos is imported and used by a segment of the chemical industry, roofing manufacturers and for “unknown applications.”
According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer there is no safe level of asbestos exposure. Despite that, according to an earlier report by the Center for Public Integrity, industry lobbyists across the globe have spent almost $100 million over the past few decades to keep the market for asbestos alive. Some scientists estimate that asbestos may cause 10 million deaths by 2030.
Still, advocates for the banning of asbestos importation continue to make their voices heard. The continued importation of asbestos is particularly frustrating to Linda Reinstein whose husband died of mesothelioma. Reinstein is president of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (“ADAO”) and as part of National Asbestos Awareness Week in early April, Reinstein held a press conference in Washington to highlight U.S. investment firms who hold stakes in Brazilian asbestos mining and production.
Shein Law, a prominent Asbestos Law Firm in Philadelphia, Advocates for Victims of Asbestos Exposure
For over 30 years, Benjamin Shein and his team of Philadelphia asbestos attorneys at Shein Law, have been dedicated to representing local victims of the asbestos industry in local courts. Our lawyers fight diligently to obtain substantial verdicts and settlements for our clients. Moreover, Mr. Shein is an avid supporter in the fight against the deadly effects of asbestos, providing financial support to advocates working to stop the importation and use of asbestos and asbestos-containing products, medical institutions researching new treatments and ultimately a cure for mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases, and groups and organizations providing service to victims of asbestos exposure.
Though we maintain offices in both Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Pennsauken, New Jersey, Shein Law attorneys are glad to meet for a consultation at a location most convenient to you and your family. Call 1-877-Sheinlaw (743-4652) or contact us online to schedule a free appointment with one of our experienced asbestos lawyers.