Not everything natural is safe, despite the blind faith people tend to put into so-called natural products. Some naturally-occurring materials are dangerous even though humans have been using them for centuries.
Asbestos is a perfect example. This naturally-occurring mineral substance comes in multiple forms and has played a role in dozens of industries throughout human history and currently in the United States despite clear medical evidence connecting asbestos exposure to multiple deadly forms of cancer.
The type of exposure determines the type of cancer
Many people exposed to asbestos in a professional setting inhale asbestos particles. They may develop mesothelioma, which starts in the lining of their organs. This deadly form of cancer has a strong association with asbestos exposure.
Lung cancer and even reproductive cancers can also result from different types of asbestos exposure. There have been cases of female reproductive cancers correlated to physical exposure to asbestos through work or contaminated products. Given the increasingly strong connection between asbestos exposure on the job and cancer later in life, federal agencies have started imposing stricter rules on asbestos in the workplace.
Are workers still exposed to asbestos in the United States?
There are still multiple industries in the United States that regularly use asbestos, including companies that make chlorine for the purpose of sanitizing water. These companies have to comply with safety regulations regarding how they train and protect their workers when they handle asbestos. However, many people still become victims of cancer due to asbestos exposure.
Recently, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has begun discussing a ban on the importation of asbestos and on additional chemical processes that use asbestos. However, the pending ban actually led to a massive uptick in the amount of imported asbestos.
Holding companies responsible for asbestos exposure
The companies that use asbestos should be held responsible for any asbestos-related illnesses their workers later develop. People who are exposed to asbestos on the job can pursue compensation to help them cover their treatment costs after a diagnosis of asbestos-related illnesses. Even if you were exposed many years ago before becoming sick, you may still have the right to take legal action.