Scientists Urge Total Global Ban on Asbestos

Scientists Urge Total Global Ban on Asbestos


02/28/2011 // Chicago, IL, USA // Mesothelioma Lawyers – Cooney & Conway // Cooney & Conway

Scientists writing in the International Journal of Environment and Health have called for a total global ban on asbestos. Today, they say, just 52 nations (of the total 194 in the world) prohibit the use, import, and export of the material.

Asbestos has been scientifically linked to deadly diseases including lung cancer and mesothelioma, an incurable cancer that strikes the protective lining covering many of the body’s organs. For years, mesothelioma lawyers, researchers, and advocacy groups have been urging lawmakers in the U.S. and elsewhere to ban asbestos.

Long popular in construction, shipbuilding, automobile, and other industries due to its heat- and fire-resistant qualities, the material can still be found in many buildings, workplaces, and homes.

According to the authors, asbestos accounts for 5 percent to 7 percent of all lung cancer in men and has negatively impacted the health of millions. Nearly all cases of mesothelioma, which kills thousands of victims every year, can be traced to asbestos exposure.

While many nations, including the United States, have laws in place to regulate the use and handling of asbestos, testing and abatement can be costly, and many property owners and employers skirt the rules, potentially exposing others to needless battles with lung cancer and mesothelioma.

Asbestos—which can still be found in ceilings, floor tiles, insulation, and piping—is particularly dangerous when it is disturbed (for example, during a renovation project) and asbestos fibers escape into the air. Asbestos particles that are inhaled can lodge in the lungs, triggering diseases like mesothelioma years—even decades—down the road.

A diagnosis of mesothelioma is particularly grim: Many patients succumb within a year of diagnosis; few survive five years or more. While mesothelioma lawyers have been successful in obtaining large jury awards and settlements, researchers still struggle to find a cure, or even a viable long-term treatment.

Scientists at the respected Collegium Ramazzini in Modena, Italy, authors of the journal piece, note that there are now far safer synthetic alternatives to asbestos—making the current production, sale, and use of the cancer-causing material hard to understand. Canada, in particular, still mines and exports great quantities of asbestos, mainly to developing nations. The Collegium Ramazzini, comprising some 180 physicians and scientists from 30 countries, is a renowned international academic society that examines critical issues in occupational and environmental medicine.

To protect workers and residents in those nations—and elsewhere across the globe—a universal ban, rigorously enforced, is essential, the Collegium scientists write. Currently, they note, at least 125 million people worldwide are exposed to asbestos at work. Many more may be at risk for asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma, thanks to the asbestos still present in countless structures, from homes and factories to schools.

*This news story was brought to you by the mesothelioma lawyers at Cooney & Conway. For more than half a century, we have been advocates for those injured because of the wrongful actions of others. We have litigated and resolved some of the nation’s most significant asbestos lawsuits, bringing justice—and financial compensation—to victims of asbestos exposure and the lung cancer, mesothelioma, and other deadly diseases it can cause.

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