The US Senate has announced plans to create an online database of all legal products sold on the market today that still contain asbestos. It has been known for years the substance is capable of causing a dangerous and aggressive form of cancer. However, there are hundreds of thousands of items that have not yet replaced the material with something more suitable. Almost 10,000 people die every single year in the US from conditions brought about by exposure to asbestos, and so the new move is welcomed by campaigners and the public alike.
The people behind the bill are Edward J. Markey and Dick Durbin. Both of them are current US Senators, and they recently sponsored the Reducing Exposure to Asbestos Database Act. Their input has helped to amend the original bill to include a public database of products that contain asbestos which can be accessed for free online. Campaigners for the removal of asbestos from all products are happy to see things are moving in the right direction.
Unlike Ebola and other conditions that are currently in the public spotlight, the cancer caused by asbestos can take a long time to manifest. So, it is more difficult for people affected to make a claim against companies that produce containing products. However, it is thought the new bill will help to make that a thing of the past. If people can look online to find out which products they use have asbestos in them, they will have an easier time identifying the causes for their illness.
Certain manufacturers that choose to include the substance in their products are less than enthusiastic about the senate’s new act. They claim that asbestos levels in the items they produce are far too low to have any adverse effects. They say that everything they sell meets standard industry guidelines, and they are more than conscious of their customer’s health worries. Mesothelioma (the type of cancer caused by asbestos) requires the patient to have been in contact with much higher levels.
Since the news hit the press, the amount of people getting in touch with a mesothelioma lawyer has increased significantly. That suggests the problem might be more serious than anyone thought. Unless those people are simply trying to cash, it appears more people are affected by the condition than first thought.
The toxic chemical is still used in many different products sold in the US. Lots of building materials and car parts still contain traces. While asbestos is currently banned in many different countries around the world, it is still perfectly legal in the US. The World Health Organisation says that it accounts for more than 107,000 deaths across the world every single year. Campaigners hope improved public education will force the government to follow the UK in banning the substance altogether.
The bill is still waiting for approval from the Senate, but all evidence points towards it being implemented very soon. Could this be an essential step on the ladder to becoming an asbestos-free nation? That remains to be seen.