Did you know that Ohio is the sixth deadliest state in the nation for asbestos-related illness, according to the Mesothelioma Center? This is not a likely coincidence, as several different asbestos manufacturers call Ohio home.
Asbestos is frequently used in the construction of public buildings and has been used and produced in the U.S. since the 1920s. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set strict exposure limits for workers and residents of cities where asbestos is produced. However, no manufacturer handles asbestos perfectly and accidental exposures can occur.
Many Ohio cities were home to asbestos manufacturers that are now closed. Some of these cities and their asbestos-related companies include the following:
- Cincinnati: The Philip Carey Manufacturing Corporation
- Medina: Republic Powdered Metals (recently bought Reardon Company’s “Bondex” products)
- Cleveland: North American Refractories Company
- Toledo: The Dana Corporation, the Owens-Corning Fiberglass Corporation
- Perrysburg: Owens-Illinois Inc.
Residents of these cities are at a higher risk for developing mesothelioma. Once inhaled, asbestos fibers can cause serious health issues that could go undiagnosed for decades.
In addition to workers in asbestos manufacturing, families of workers are also at risk. Second-hand asbestos exposure can happen when workers accidentally bring asbestos fibers home on clothing. Even worse, asbestos is still used today in many products such as auto parts, insulated pipes and other common household items.
What you need to know about asbestos exposure in 2019
Congress’ 2019 funding bill includes money for the first step toward a National Mesothelioma Patient Registry. Several different government bodies will work together on this study. They will try to prove the true impact of asbestos on patients and communities and encourage research funding.
As of January 2019, there is no cure for mesothelioma. Current methods of tracking cases of mesothelioma through the National Cancer Institute do not help patients before their deaths. This delay leaves gaps in our knowledge of asbestos exposure, which could leave large groups of people vulnerable.
The asbestos industry is alive and well today even though it is a proven danger to the public because it is useful, cheap and profitable. Asbestos is part of the legacy of American construction.
Even if asbestos production stopped tomorrow, there will be dangerous asbestos in homes and buildings for decades to come. Even if the nation takes significant steps, this legacy will affect generations of Americans to come.