Asbestos Dangers Known Centuries Ago, but Battle Continues Today

Quoted from http://www.aolnews.com/killer-in-the-attic/article/asbestos-dangers-known-centuries-ago-but-battle-continues-today/19731494

A Killer in the Attic

Asbestos Dangers Known Centuries Ago, but Battle Continues

Andrew Schneider Senior Public Health Correspondent

AOL News This is Part 4 of a four-part series on an asbestos-tainted insulation called Zonolite, a killer than lurks in the attics and walls of millions of homes.

SEATTLE (Nov. 29) — Invisible fibers were killing people long before a Roman scholar reported that the slaves who worked in the asbestos quarries died far younger than those who didn’t touch the wondrous, fireproof mineral.

The scholar, Pliny the Elder, was also a military commander and author of 70-plus books, but the merchants who mined, milled and sold asbestos did all they could to discredit his discovery and pronouncements that the fibers were harmful.

Now, 2,000 years later, not a lot has changed. Industries that still handle asbestos, or are defending themselves from tens of thousands of lawsuits from former workers who were sickened or killed on the job, still insist it couldn’t be from their material.

Early on, the EPA saw the need to ban asbestos in this country, and 21 years ago the agency did just that.

In This Series
Part 1: Government Refuses to Act on Cancer-Causing Insulation
Madison Square Garden Case Illustrates Paranoia
What to Do If You Have Zonolite Insulation
Part 2: Cancer Patient’s Home a ‘Living Laboratory’ for Deadly Fibers
Part 3: ‘In Libby, There Was No Maybe’ About Dangers
Part 4: Asbestos Dangers Known Centuries Ago, but Battle Continues

But the ban was short-lived. The powerful Canadian asbestos industry — which remains one of the world’s largest producers of the killer mineral — sued the EPA almost immediately. With months, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned it on technical reasons. So, as it had almost a century before, the use of the fireproof mineral flourished, as did the number of people felled by asbestos-related disease.

Granite chronicles of the deadliness of asbestos can be seen in workers’ graveyards near the vermiculite mine at Libby, Mont., in tiny towns along the string of taconite mines in upper Minnesota, and near Michigan’s auto plants, Boeing’s aircraft factories in Washington, talc mines in New York and shipyards on all coasts.

What can only be guessed at is the unknown number of asbestos-caused diseases like mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis in people exposed to asbestos from vermiculite insulation in their attics or walls or other consumer products they handle daily.

[Article continues at original source]

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