Asbestos is a naturally occurring group of minerals that contain strong, flexible and easily separated fibers. A poor conductor of heat and electricity, asbestos is a multipurpose material used in a number of building, manufacturing and commercial applications.
Asbestos Exposure Information
Use the information below to learn more about the dangers and sources of asbestos exposure.
Asbestos Exposure History
- Fire retardant coatings
- Pipe insulation
- Fireproof drywall
- Joint compound
- And, More
Growth of Asbestos Lawsuits
By the middle of the 20th century, it was clear that asbestos was dangerous. Articles and reports were making connections between workplace asbestos exposure and diseases such as lung cancer and asbestosis. Despite the new found awareness of the dangers of asbestos exposure, many companies continued to allow its use and failed to provide their workers with warnings.
Asbestos use finally began to decline in the early 1970s, when major asbestos lawsuits became more commonplace. Because asbestos exposure was so widespread, generations of workers were experiencing negative asbestos health effects and were seeking compensation for their injuries. The mountain of litigation drove many U.S. companies to seek refuge in bankruptcy and others to cease asbestos use in order to avoid lawsuits against themselves.
Asbestos Exposure Today
While some countries have completely banned asbestos, and other countries, like the U.S., have placed heavy regulations on its use, asbestos is still present and continues to be used.
The prevalence of asbestos use during the 20th century now poses serious health risks for more than one million U.S. workers. View a list of occupations most at risk for asbestos exposure.
Want to learn more about the history of asbestos use and mesothelioma? View the mesothelioma litigation timeline.