Nowadays, nearly everyone knows of the harmful effects of exposure to asbestos. Since construction companies began to use it as an insulator, thousands of people have died of asbestosis, the most common disease resulting from breathing in asbestos fibers. Asbestos is also a known carcinogenic, and often causes a type of cancer known as mesothelioma. It’s no wonder many countries around the world have banned its use.
What many people may not know is that trace amounts of asbestos can still be found in products purchased in the United States today, such as certain cosmetics and baby powders.
The House of Representatives was planning to vote on an asbestos-related bill, but the bill has been taken off the House docket for the time being.
The proposed bill would have banned the use and sale of asbestos in every industry
The Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act would have been an amendment to the Toxic Substances Control Act. The writers of the Act designed it to make it illegal for companies to manufacture, process and distribute asbestos in commerce, even if it were just a small ingredient in a larger mixture.
Just before the House could vote on the legislation, some internal disputes within the House resulted in the proposed bill being pulled, and the House never voted on it.
Companies can continue to sell products that contain trace amounts of asbestos
Many products still on the market, such as certain types of make-up and hygiene products, contain trace amounts of asbestos. The failure of Congress to pass this Act means that these products can stay on the shelves.
For example, companies are continuing to create products, such as baby powder, that contain talc. Talc is a naturally occurring mineral composed of several harmless substances such as silicon, magnesium and oxygen. Unfortunately, talc also often contains asbestos.
When someone breathes in asbestos particles over long periods of time, it often results in tissue damage and cancer. One study found that women who use talcum powder as a hygiene product over long periods of time increase the risk of developing ovarian cancer by 44%.
The huge wave of asbestos-related lawsuits in the 1970s were not the end of Americans’ battle with this harmful substance. If you, or someone you know, has been harmed by the effects of asbestos in household products, it may not be too late to seek compensation for your injury.