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Asbestos is still legal in Ohio and beyond

When you hear the word "asbestos," do you typically think of it as a singular item? If so, you would not be alone. However, asbestos refers to six microscopic fibers derived from naturally occurring minerals. These minerals come from rocks and soil. Manufacturers have been using the fibers in products sold in the United States for more than 100 years.

You may have heard that, in the late 1980s, it became illegal to use asbestos in products sold in this country. This is not true; it is still legal and is often used in modern construction, in items that are meant to be fireproof and more. Learning as much as you can about asbestos is a good idea, especially if you believe you or one of your loved ones is at risk for an illness caused by inhaling or ingesting it.

What did happen in the 1980s?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency banned certain products containing asbestos in 1989. However, the asbestos industry filed a lawsuit a couple of years later and won. If you or one of your family members has ever worked in a factory, in the construction or automotive mechanics industries, in a shipyard, a school built before 1980, or a factory or mine, it is possible that exposure took place.

Types of illness asbestos causes

If you or someone in your family becomes ill from inhaling or ingesting asbestos, symptoms might remain hidden for years. Mesothelioma is an incurable cancer that affects the lining of your lungs or other organs in your body. Asbestosis is also a terminal illness that occurs if you have severe scar tissue on your lungs, making it more and more difficult to breathe as your illness progresses.

How much exposure must you have to suffer injury?

Regarding on-the-job safety, you'll want to know that the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration has declared that there is no safe amount of exposure to asbestos. A single instance may be enough to cause harm. 

This is why employers must make it a priority (because they are legally obligated) to inform you of any known asbestos dangers in your workplace. An employer must also provide proper training and equipment to help you stay as safe as possible on the job.

What should you do if you suspect asbestos injury?

If you or your loved one contracted an illness from breathing in microscopic asbestos fibers, there will come a day when symptoms start to arise. Receiving a medical diagnosis is often the first logical step to take to treat any illness or injury. It is important that you inform your doctor if you believe your symptoms resulted from asbestos exposure.

Such symptoms might include a lingering cough, unexplained weight loss or chronic fatigue. Chest discomfort, impaired breathing and lack of appetite are also common symptoms of asbestos-related illness. Many people in Ohio and elsewhere have sought financial recovery for their losses upon learning that their asbestos injuries were preventable and were due to employer negligence.

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