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Why it may be time to worry about asbestos exposure again

For many years, it wasn't uncommon for asbestos, a material known for its high heat resistance capabilities, to be used in various residential and commercial structures in Louisville, many other parts of Kentucky and throughout the rest of the United States. Since asbestos fibers have also been linked to serious and potentially fatal respiratory diseases, this material has been severely restricted or widely banned in many countries. However, a new EPA rule could alter some of the existing limitations in place that govern how asbestos can be used.

Since 1989, new uses for asbestos in the United States have been banned, although certain uses for this material prior to 1989 are still permitted. The law also prohibits the use and sale of certain asbestos-containing products, such as specialty paper and rollboard. The most recent EPA action concerning asbestos, referred to as a Significant New Use Rule, or SNUR, would allow manufacturers of new products containing this material to seek approval on a case-by-case basis.

Reportedly, the EPA will no longer consider possible ground, air or water exposure when assessing risks associated with asbestos products. The Healthy Building Network is one of several organizations that have raised concerns about the move. The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation is pushing for a complete ban on asbestos, stressing the fact that the material is a known carcinogen. The World Health Organization reports that more than 100 million workers worldwide are still exposed to asbestos on a regular basis. Home exposure may also be responsible for thousands of deaths each year.

If asbestos is a suspected or confirmed cause of illnesses, such as mesothelioma, a lawyer may take steps to determine the possible sources of exposure. This typically includes looking at workplace environments, especially in cases involving retired workers who could have been exposed to asbestos before the dangers associated with this material were known. Actions taken on behalf of clients may include seeking appropriate compensation for medical expenses and initiating litigation against manufacturers or employers.

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