Asbestos Exposure Law: The danger of exposure to asbestos dust
Did you know that in Quebec, we can still find materials and products that contain asbestos in industrial, commercial, public or residential buildings? If these materials or products are worked or in poor condition, asbestos fibers may come off. This can cause serious illness for anyone who breathes into them.
During the twentieth century the United States imported and consumed about twenty-seven million tons of Canadian asbestos, the peak consumption was 1973 with more than 800,000 tons used. Asbestos consumption in the United States declined during the 1980s before dropping drastically from more than 350,000 tonnes a year to a few tonnes a year. From a practical point of view, it can be considered that asbestos is no longer used in the United States.
Asbestos Exposure Law
However, the situation in the United States concerning the ban/authorization of Asbestos Exposure Law is legally complex. Asbestos is practically no longer used but not totally banned; in particular, the US Senate voted on October 4, 2007 (unanimously!) a law banning the importation and use of asbestos, but this law has not been ratified by the administration of President G. W. Bush. Similarly, the 1989 EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) regulation which sought to ban asbestos was partially annulled by a court of appeal in 1991.
Asbestos Exposure Law – Since the mid-1970s, a wave of lawsuits has swept the United States against manufacturers of asbestos products. It is no exaggeration to say that it is the multiplication of claims for bodily injury that has forced manufacturers to stop using asbestos in the United States.
The peculiarity of the United States Asbestos Exposure Law is that the health authorities have not been able to carry out a policy of prevention of asbestos-related diseases, mainly through a mismatch of general legislation and a catastrophic judicial decision in 1991, amply described below.
The paradox is that two of the American jurisdictions seem to contradict each other: while the civil justice system condemned and continues to condemn the industrialists to billions of dollars of compensation for victims of asbestos, the administrative justice prevented the health agencies, especially the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate more severely and ban asbestos.