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Victims may not recognize asbestos exposure when it happens

Most people know that asbestos is dangerous and can lead to a number of health issues. However, few understand exactly what this toxic substance is or why asbestos exposure is so harmful to human health. By better understanding the substance and its identifying features, individuals in South Carolina can better protect themselves.

Asbestos is a mineral that occurs naturally and in rather abundant quantities. It is a seemingly incredibly useful substance, as it is resistant to heat and relatively strong. It was once favored as an insulator in homes and buildings, and used in a wide variety of other products, including in brake pads for vehicles. It was widely used for decades until its ill-effects became obvious, and all new uses in the United States were temporarily banned in 1989. That was overturned in 1990, although certain uses are still banned.

Construction worker blames lung cancer on asbestos exposure

Most people in South Carolina know that inhaling asbestos can lead to developing the deadly cancer mesothelioma. Less common knowledge, however, is that asbestos exposure can also cause other serious health issues. One woman claims that her lung cancer is the result of decades of exposure to asbestos, and she is seeking compensation for her injuries.

The woman was formerly employed in the construction industry between the years 1954 and 2000. Over these decades, she says that she was routinely put in contact with asbestos fibers, which she both inhaled and ingested. Apparently, at no point, did she receive adequate warnings or safety training regarding handling these items. All of this exposure allegedly culminated in a lung cancer diagnosis in May 2017.

Children bear brunt of asbestos exposure in school crisis

South Carolina parents send their children to school with the expectation that they will be taught in a safe and secure environment. Virtually no one expects that their child will suddenly fall ill because of the very building they are being sent to learn in. Unfortunately, for some parents and students, asbestos exposure from schools is a terrifying reality. An out-of-state school district claims that it is attempting to rectify the presence of dangerous toxic materials in its schools, but is so far not making much progress. Many of the schools were built before 1970 and are now laden with asbestos, lead and mold, which is having a profound impact on schoolchildren.

One family is suffering the consequences firsthand. A first-grade student's behavior rapidly deteriorated and he struggled with easy math problems he had previously completed without issue. He was soon diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, but that was not enough to explain the sudden change in his behavior. When his teacher spotted him placing a paint chip that had fallen from the ceiling into his mouth, they had their answers. Lead poisoning so severe that the amount in his blood was nine times higher than levels that experts acknowledge causes permanent brain damage.

Does the EPA allow asbestos-containing substances?

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is a federal agency that was established in 1970 to set and enforce guidelines to protect the environment.

The agency has been under heat lately due to claims that it was going to allow new asbestos-containing products to be used in the United States.

Contractors put apartment residents at risk for asbestos exposure

Asbestos is a toxic substance that causes severe ill health effects in humans. However, its deadly nature was not always common knowledge, and it used to be a commonly used substance for insulating buildings. Now that the effects of asbestos exposure are well understood, building owners, construction crews and others must be vigilant in preventing unnecessary risks South Carolina residents.

Residents of an out-of-state apartment complex were exposed to asbestos during renovations. Apparently, the contracting company hired to perform those renovations did not ensure that safety protocols were followed, which likely exposed all 12 units in the building to airborne asbestos dust. At one point, the contractors left asbestos-laden debris in the building's hallway, and residents were forced to pass the debris when using the side door.

Firefighters suffered asbestos exposure in training

South Carolina firefighters understand that they may be exposed to a host of dangerous substances during the course of their employment. This exposure, however, usually comes from active fires that firefighters work to contain and eliminate. Few, if any, expect that they will have to deal with unknown asbestos exposure during training.

Earlier in 2018, a group of out-of-state firefighters participated in a demolition burn for training purposes. The deputy chief's friend had previously offered a home that he apparently owned but no longer needed for the demolition training. However, simply burning a home for training purposes is not a quick process. The Environmental Protection Agency requires that any structure being burned must first have any asbestos removed.

Asbestos exposure could increase because of EPA's new policy

There is no denying the devastating effect that asbestos has on countless mesothelioma sufferers. South Carolina victims of asbestos exposure often deal with serious and debilitating health effects even before they develop the deadly cancer. Now, new limited analysis at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will put even more individuals at risk for asbestos exposure and subsequent illness.

The Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 was amended in 2016, mandating that the EPA evaluate hazardous materials and chemicals, then determine if those chemicals should be restricted or even banned. Now, the EPA is narrowing its risk factors for 10 of those substances. The agency will no longer consider the health risks of exposure to harmful substances through soil, air or water that has been contaminated, and will instead only assess the dangers of directly touching a chemical or material.

USDA workers worried about asbestos exposure

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is charged with keeping the country's food supply safe, but some employees say they are the ones facing health risks. The current USDA headquarters is undergoing a renovation and making some workers worried. Many claim that the renovations are putting them at risk for asbestos exposure.

In late March 2018, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration -- which also helps protect workplaces in South Carolina and across the country -- began investigating USDA worker complaints. The workers' union had previously claimed that management did not provide adequate notice about the presence of lead paint and asbestos during renovations. It also accused the management team of failing to erect physical barriers that would safely quarantine workers from the renovations.

Mesothelioma victim wins millions in Johnson & Johnson case

Johnson & Johnson is almost synonymous with baby products, and an untold number of families in South Carolina use their products on a regular basis. Unfortunately, their popular baby powder product may not be as safe as the company claims. One consumer developed mesothelioma after many years and thousands of applications, and recently won $25.75 million in damages.

The woman claims that she used Johnson & Johnson brand baby powders for years before developing cancer. As a frequent bowler, she typically dusted both her hands and her bowling shoes with the powder. Her suit also asserts that she used the company's baby powder to help fight diaper rashes when her children were little. Court experts estimated this amounted to at least 10,000 individual uses.

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