Asbestos Deaths are Not Decreasing

April 8, 2019  |  Mesothelioma
Graph showing rising rate

You would think that by now, some forty years after most asbestos products were outlawed in the United States, deaths diseases and other cancers caused by Asbestos would be decreasing in number. But you’d be wrong. Deaths from asbestos diseases like the deadly, asbestos-caused cancer mesothelioma have not declined. In fact, the number of deaths attributed to asbestos has increased dramatically.

Predictions Underestimated

Analysts got the numbers wrong. Deaths from exposure to asbestos are actually more than double the number that researchers predicted when governmental studies were first conducted and estimates calculated starting in the 1970s. Various assessments over the past fifty years by the World Health Organization, the International Labour Organization and other groups have put the number of people dying of asbestos disease at 107,000 to 112,000 deaths per year worldwide. Scientists have long believed those estimates to be outdated. But they were surprised when a study conducted by the International Commission of Occupational Health (ICOH) in May 2018 revealed that the actual number of deaths from asbestos disease worldwide is an estimated 255,000 per year, more than double previous calculations.

Asbestos Still Not Banned

The ICOH, based in Italy, is a leading scientific organization dedicated to analyzing and reporting on occupational health throughout the world. It boasts a membership of 2,000 professionals from 93 countries. This well-respected agency reports that another factor in the gross miscalculation of the far-reaching ability of asbestos to kill those exposed to it is that previous estimates were based on the assumption that the use of asbestos would be largely curtailed by now, knowing as we now do how deadly exposure to the carcinogenic mineral can be. However, the fact is that asbestos is still used in the United States and globally. Therefore, people continue to die from diseases like mesothelioma at increasingly alarming rates.

In addition to this sobering news, the ICOH has calculated that the direct economic impact of sickness, early retirement and death from asbestos-related diseases in highly developed countries such as the United States amounts to a staggering seven percent of our Gross Domestic Product. Intangible costs, such as human suffering and loss of life and livelihood, are estimated to be higher still.

And the numbers continue to rise worldwide. Although asbestos has been banned in more than 60 countries, the naturally occurring mineral, prized for its light weight, low cost, tensile strength, weavable fibrous composition and ability to block heat, sound and corrosion from caustic substances, continues to be widely used in more than 100 counties in the world, including ours. Some two million tons of asbestos ore are still produced annually worldwide and incorporated into commercial, industrial and household products, according to the ICOH study. By the report’s estimates, every twenty tons of asbestos produced kills a person somewhere in the world.

Efforts to Protect the Public Are Not Enough

The ICOH report, published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, concluded that efforts to prevent exposure to asbestos in the workplace and elsewhere are woefully inadequate. The study calls the continuing cost of lives lost to asbestos exposure an “epidemiological disaster” and concludes that banning the use of asbestos outright is the only way to stem the tide of deaths from mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. The report states that current established exposure limits do not adequately protect people from asbestos diseases.

The mesothelioma lawyers at Baron & Budd have dedicated over 40 year to fighting for the victims of Asbestos.  If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, please complete our contact form or call us at 855-280-7664 for a confidential evaluation and to learn more about your legal options.


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