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Common Forms of Asbestos Exposure in 2019

October 18, 2019 Published in Personal Injury

Most people understand that exposure to asbestos is dangerous for humans, though many people do not understand what asbestos is or where it is found. Unless you have been exposed to this hazardous material or know someone who has, you probably do not think about is every day. Understanding what asbestos is and how to avoid exposure is the most powerful way to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. If you believe you’ve been affected by asbestos, contact our office today to speak with an experienced Springfield personal injury attorney over a free consultation.

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a natural substance that is found in rocks and soil. These mineral fibers have been used by manufacturers for many reasons over the years because they are flexible and resistant to heat, electricity, and chemicals. Over the years, asbestos was widely used to make construction materials, textiles, automotive parts, and more.

Some of the most familiar asbestos-containing products that people have heard about include:

  • Insulation in walls and attics
  • Shingles
  • Siding on houses
  • Vinyl tiles on floors
  • Blankets wrapped around pipes
  • Car brakes
  • Heat-resistant fabrics

The fibers that form asbestos can present a problem. When they are handled or damages, they can easily break apart into tiny pieces, making them easy to inhale. These fibers get into a person’s lungs and can cause health problems. Over time, continual asbestos exposure can lead to a high risk of lung diseases like lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis.

Signs of Asbestos Exposure

Exposure to asbestos fibers occurs when they become airborne. The toxic mineral can remain in the air for hours. Even when the fibers have settled, they can be disturbed again and become re-airborne. Most people who have been exposed to asbestos were exposed in the workplace. Most US companies stopped using this hazardous material in the 1980s, but asbestos-containing materials remain in millions of older buildings throughout the country.

Those most at risk of asbestos exposure were those who worked in manual labor and skilled trades, including construction, shipyards, and factories. Those involved in home demolition and home-renovations are also exposed to asbestos on a daily basis.

Those who live in older homes are also at risk of exposure. As asbestos-containing products begin to deteriorate, these microscopic fibers enter the air. You are at risk of exposure if you:

  • Live near contaminated job sites or near asbestos deposits
  • Use or disturb asbestos-containing products
  • Work in certain occupations, including the military
  • Experience man-made or natural disasters that disturb asbestos

Asbestos in Cosmetics and Hygiene products

Recently, there have been several product recalls due to possible asbestos contamination. Early in 2019, the FDA confirmed that two stores, Claire’s and Justice, have carried makeup products that contained asbestos. The FDA says that test results on three powdered makeup products from the companies contained asbestos. According to the FDA, Claire’s even “refused to comply” with their request to recall the products that tested positive.

Johnson & Johnson has also faced several lawsuits for their baby powder products containing asbestos. Talcum is a naturally occurring clay mineral and is commonly used in baby powder because of its ability to absorb moisture. Many mines where talc is taken from also contain asbestos. This is well-known, and Johnson & Johnson, as well as other companies, are supposed to treat the talc to remove any asbestos. Lawsuits against these companies have reportedly linked talc in their products to asbestos exposure.