Mar 22, 2021 10:09 AM EDT
Why Young People Should Still Fear Asbestos
Even though over 50 countries have banned the use of asbestos, including all of the European Union, the UK, Canada, and Australia, it remains legal in the United States. Asbestos is a hazardous natural material responsible for tens of thousands of deaths annually from conditions like mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer. Production quantities may have reduced over the decades, but it remains a genuine threat - even to young people who haven't worked in asbestos material industries. The reason for this may just surprise you.
A common misconception that a law firm like Bergman Legal can clear up is that you can only get an asbestos-related condition by being exposed to it. Young people, who may not have worked with asbestos materials, may feel safe knowing that they couldn't be at risk because they haven't worked with it.
However, secondary exposure cases are on the rise, particularly as a new generation of adults learns that their parents were exposed. A parent returning from a shift at an asbestos materials plant can pass on asbestos fibers to their children by merely hugging them in their work clothing or sharing porous furniture.
It's Present in Schools
Even though some schools are spending large sums of money on removing asbestos from their buildings, it remains present in thousands worldwide. Fortunately, asbestos is only dangerous when it has been exposed to the air through wear and tear or damage. However, that doesn't mean the risk is zero. Any student attending an educational facility with asbestos may be at risk of exposure if renovations or damage occurs.
It's Present in Workplaces
Many college students pick up part-time work while they are studying and are grateful for the opportunity. Not wanting to lose that valuable income source, they may be less likely to voice their concerns about a potential workplace danger. Instead, they may do what they are told and potentially put themselves in danger, especially at construction sites. The British Safety Council campaign 'Speak Up, Stay Safe' highlighted this very problem. Young people can be too intimidated by their employers to speak up about a potential health and safety issue.
Companies Are Still Using It
In the United States, companies are still using asbestos in roofing materials, fireproofing products, gaskets, friction products, and more. Surprisingly, it has even been found in makeup products that many people wear to work, albeit accidentally. While in most countries, the risk remains in old products, the United States' laws around its use leave room for exposure. Sometimes, it's not until you start inquiring about a mesothelioma case do you come to realize how high the exposure risk still is.
It's Not Easy to Spot
Most products containing asbestos don't have large warning signs on them that outline the risks of using or touching those products. Young people who may not have been educated on asbestos danger can experience the same risk of exposure as their relatives decades before. It can be lurking in everything from old Christmas decorations and fake snow to asbestos pipes, vinyl flooring, insulation, and everything in between.
Even though young people have a lot more information at their disposal regarding asbestos, that doesn't mean the exposure risk isn't still high. If you have been exposed to asbestos at an education facility, a workplace, or anywhere else, it might be time to seek legal advice in the northwest.
See Now: Facebook will use AI to detect users with suicidal thoughts and prevent suicide© 2017 University Herald, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
Join the Conversation