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The Asbestos Industry Knew How Dangerous Its Product Was
Over the decades, the courts have placed restrictions on manufacturers to ensure that consumers are safe from dangerous designs and defects. But what about products that entered the marketplace before people became aware of their dangers? Asbestos is exactly one of those products.
According to the materials fact sheet published by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), asbestos is defined as:
"A group of naturally occurring minerals used in certain products, such as building materials and vehicle brakes, to resist heat and corrosion. The inhalation of asbestos fibers by workers can cause serious diseases of the lungs and other organs that may not appear until years after the exposure has occurred. For instance, asbestosis can cause a buildup of scar-like tissue in the lungs and result in loss of lung function that often progresses to disability and death. Asbestos fibers associated with these health risks are too small to be seen with the naked eye, and smokers are at higher risk of developing some asbestos-related diseases."
Why Are Manufacturers Held Liable So Many Years After Its Ban?
The dangers of contracting illnesses such as asbestosis and mesothelioma from inhaling or absorbing asbestos fibers started to become evident in the 1950s, but numerous industries continued its use. In fact, during the post-war home building boom, asbestos became the material of choice for insulating homes and plumbing pipes. By the 1970s, though, producers of asbestos products could no longer deny the evidence. The federal government imposed heavy restrictions on its manufacture and use. Still, workers in the building and manufacturing industries were subjected to inhaling the deadly fibers because very little of it was removed.
After its manufacturing ban in 1989, businesses began employing people to remove the old material, often without fully understanding the safeguards required to prevent inhalation and absorption through the skin. Today, almost 95 percent of products that once included asbestos have changed their composition or are no longer in production. Most asbestos uses established before that date are still allowed, but are strictly regulated by the government.
The courts have ruled that manufacturers and property owners may be held liable for victims of asbestosis and mesothelioma if they did not do enough to protect people from inhaling and absorbing the fibers after the dangers became known. It is a loose parallel to the liability shared by auto companies that failed to install proper restraints in their cars after overwhelming evidence proved that seat belts save lives.
Not Everyone Is Eligible for Damages
The criteria for suing a former employer or manufacturer after being diagnosed with mesothelioma or other diseases related to asbestosis are very strict. If you feel your diagnosis can be directly attributed to prolonged contact with an asbestos product, talk to an experienced Kansas City asbestos lawyer at Humphrey, Farrington & McClain. Our attorneys are recognized national leaders in litigation relating to illness, injury and death from toxic exposure.
We have earned settlements and verdicts totaling in the hundreds of millions of dollars. We are one of the few law firms nationally with the professional and financial resources to litigate cases to their ultimate conclusion.
From our offices in Independence, Missouri, our lawyers represent clients in individual and class action lawsuits in courts throughout Missouri, Kansas and the United States. Contact our firm online or call 888-353-0491 to arrange a free consultation.