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Asbestos is a known carcinogen, causing mesothelioma and other diseases. Why is it not banned in the United States?
Certainly we live in a world of uncertainties: that tornado in Joplin, the unprecedented tsunami + earthquake in Japan, wildfires in Arizona. All tragic and all unpreventable. But in a world so fraught with disasters we can’t control, why aren’t we controlling the ones we can? Specifically, why aren’t we banning the import of asbestos-containing products to the United States? Imports are still legal, despite overwhelming evidence that asbestos exposure causes mesothelioma and other cancers.
Just look at the World Health Organization’s 2010 report on chemicals of major public health concern: asbestos is right there on the top 10 list – and accountable for 107,000 deaths per year globally. Every other reputable United States and international health agency agrees: the Environmental Protection Agency, the International Labor Organization, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and the American Cancer Society … all say there is no safe level of asbestos exposure.
We are reminded of a song from a different era –different meaning but still so true: “How Many Deaths Does It Take Till We Know…”
We hope not any more.