It’s hard to believe, but people in the United States still receive false information all the time about the safety of asbestos exposure. Even after the asbestos companies admitted that their products cause disease, there are still those who try to dispel the dangers of the carcinogen. Although asbestos companies aren’t nearly as successful as they were in the mid 1900s, they are still thriving; with asbestos imported into the U.S everyday. And with profits inevitably comes the power of persuasion.
A prominent news talk radio company located in Tulsa, Oklahoma released an article this week discussing the safety levels of asbestos. The article cited an expert who claimed that the public doesn’t accurately understand the nature of asbestos, and that the only real sufferers of asbestos exposure are those that worked as pipefitters and machinists. The expert continues to state that only people who have worked in positions that were repeatedly exposed to concentrated levels of asbestos, such as pipefitters and machinists, suffer from diseases such as mesothelioma. According to him, the public is ignorant when it comes to asbestos exposure, and argues that people breathe in asbestos every day without knowing it.
It should be noted that the “expert” is a businessman with ties to the asbestos industry. He is not a doctor or scientist, nor did the article seek the professional opinion of one such expert; and probably for good reason.
Most medical experts and toxicologists concur that there is no safe level of exposure when it comes to asbestos. This theory is accredited to multiple accounts of mesothelioma from bystander asbestos exposure. This is when someone has been indirectly exposed to asbestos dust, frequently or infrequently, but did not directly handle the carcinogen. There have been several accounts of family members of trade workers who were exposed simply from the fibers carried into the home from the workers’ clothes, hair and shoes.
Asbestos advocates were quick to react to the article. Members of the mesothelioma community, including patients, family members and friends, resounded in unified outrage over the claims made in the article. One man wrote about how his wife and sister both died of mesothelioma due to exposure from their father’s as children. A woman spoke of her father, a high school English teacher, who was also diagnosed with mesothelioma. In fact, virtually every comment attributed to the story took umbrage with the dangerously inaccurate information given by the supposed expert.
The truth is, determining an exact safety level of asbestos is a moot point. After multiple accounts of indirect and infrequent exposure resulting in a fatal diagnosis of mesothelioma or lung cancer, even the smallest percentage of exposure is unacceptable. Articles like this one are deplorable, as they promote an industry that self-admittedly sells products that cause fatal disease and trivialize the loss that so many families have had to endure.
Baron and Budd has been representing clients who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma for over 35 years. In our long history, we have represented a wide array of clients, including many who did not work in a trade typically associated with asbestos exposure. If you would like to learn more about the asbestos industry, or if you or someone you know has been affected by mesothelioma, visit here.