Manufacturers made and sold asbestos-containing products for use in construction, insulation, and in other industrial and consumer goods. Those who used asbestos products are at risk of developing deadly diseases like mesothelioma. Many products still contain asbestos today despite the health risks and regulations.
Widespread Use of Asbestos-Containing Products
Asbestos showed up in products everywhere — from drug store cosmetics to U.S. Navy ship insulation — before its dangers were widely known.
Did You Know? It’s estimated that 27 million Americans were exposed to asbestos products during the 20th century.
Asbestos had many benefits that made it useful in a wide variety of products. It was hailed as a so-called “miracle mineral” for decades.Product manufacturers could blend its fibers into all sorts of different materials without a chemical reaction.
This made asbestos safe and simple to handle during all manufacturing processes, allowing for its use across most American industries.
Yet asbestos had a major drawback: when inhaled, its fibers never leave the human body and can cause life-threatening diseases like asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma.
Why Were Asbestos Products Used?
Asbestos products were used because the wide-ranging benefits of the mineral outweighed its deadly drawbacks.
- Durability – Asbestos was exceptionally strong, and any product that used it was made more durable.
- Fire Resistance – Asbestos products were desirable in high-heat and high-combustion settings since they could withstand high temperatures. Asbestos liners in boilers and fireboxes controlled heat in amazing ways.
- Friction Resistance – Automotive assemblers found asbestos resisted friction and wear. Automobile makers manufactured brakes, clutches, and gaskets from asbestos. Almost every American car, truck, and heavy equipment piece contained asbestos parts at one time.
- Lightweight – Asbestos was so lightweight that it could be used to make airplane parts.
- Low Cost – Asbestos was relatively cheap to extract from the ground and blend into products. This property allowed manufacturers to make handsome profits.
- Non-Conductive – Asbestos resisted electricity very well. This made it highly useful as insulation for electrical wiring.
- Sound Absorption – Shipbuilders found asbestos products perfect. These products absorbed sound like no other material yet discovered.
For decades, the only ones who knew of the horrific dangers were the manufacturers of asbestos-containing products.
But these manufacturers downplayed and even hid the dangers of asbestos from the general public to protect their profits rather than keeping people safe.
Products That Contain Asbestos
The benefits and natural availability of asbestos resulted in the material being used in hundreds of products from the 1920s until the 1980s — when clear links were made between asbestos exposure and illness.
Below are examples of some common asbestos-containing products:
- Air-conditioning systems
- Brake pads
- Brake shoes
- Cement pipe
- Cement powder/mortar mixes
- Clutch facings
- Electrical components
- Fire blankets
- Floor tiles
- Heat control materials
- Pipe and blockwork
- Potting soil
- Protective clothing
- Roofing shingles
Asbestos was also found in dozens of other industrial and consumer products.
Talc & Baby Powder
Talc — a common ingredient in baby powder — is a mineral that helps absorb moisture and reduce friction.In many mines, talc occurs in the same geologic formations as asbestos. Asbestos fibers are extremely small — trying to separate perfectly the talc from the asbestos is extremely difficult.
Did You Know?
In October 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advised consumers to stop purchasing Johnson & Johnson’s famous baby powder.
This alert came after the agency found trace amounts of asbestos in samples of the company’s baby powder.
Asbestos in talcum powder has been linked to ovarian cancer, mesothelioma, and other health issues.
Diseases Caused by Asbestos Exposure
Anyone who used asbestos-containing products could be at risk of several dangerous illnesses.
Microscopic fibers could be released into the air when asbestos-based products get disturbed and then inhaled or swallowed.
Asbestos fibers are so durable that the human body cannot break them down.
Over time, the asbestos fibers irritate healthy tissue and eventually cause the affected person to get sick. This causes asbestos diseases to form.
The most common diseases related to asbestos products are:
- Asbestosis: benign (non-cancerous) scar tissue in the lungs
- Lung cancer: malignant (cancerous) tumors grow inside the lung
- Mesothelioma: cancer masses develop in the lung, heart, abdomen and testicle linings
- Other cancers: asbestos-related cancer can develop in the ovaries, kidneys, and larynx
Other conditions related to asbestos — such as pleural plaques, pleural effusion, and pleural thickening — are not life-threatening, but most are uncomfortable.
Asbestos-related diseases affect thousands of people each year.
Did You Know?
Approximately 3,000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma in the U.S. each year, according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
Anyone with an asbestos-related disease should explore their treatment options and how to pay for their medical expenses.
Banning Asbestos Products
Authorities now focus on banning asbestos products from being made or sold to prevent more from getting sick and dying.
Regulators in the U.S. federal government started taking steps in the late 1970s to control products containing asbestos materials.
That included regulators such as:
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)
- U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
Authorities had successfully banned some asbestos products by the late 1980s. But asbestos laws have not totally banned the mineral in the United States as of 2023.
U.S. federal legislation lists asbestos products individually identified as banned substances. They also dictate which products are permitted but highly controlled.
Current laws do not restrict asbestos products based on the type of asbestos used. Contrary to some reports, all types of asbestos are dangerous.
It’s illegal to manufacture “new use” products that didn’t previously contain asbestos.
Asbestos Products Today
Asbestos products still pose a threat to human health today despite modern restrictions.
Millions of American homes, public buildings, and factories were built with asbestos-containing materials. Most of these still stand today with their asbestos products intact.
The same applies to ships and heavy equipment, although programs removed some asbestos materials.
Federal regulations specify strict steps workers must take to remove or work around asbestos products.
Did You Know? The safest way to approach asbestos products today is assuming they are dangerous and taking protective precautions.
Call a licensed professional to remove any asbestos-containing materials. Small samples can be tested in labs to confirm or rule out asbestos contamination before handling them.
Those exposed to asbestos-based products — whether today or decades ago — should also learn if they qualify for compensation that can help pay for expenses.
Compensation for Asbestos-Related Diseases
The bottom line is that nobody expected — or deserved — to develop deadly diseases from asbestos products.
If you used asbestos-containing products and developed mesothelioma, lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be entitled to legal compensation.
This compensation comes from the manufacturers of asbestos-containing products that knowingly put people like you at risk. Compensation can help pay for lost income, medical costs, and any other expenses.
The court system has held manufacturers responsible for endangering the public and awarded compensation to victims of asbestos exposure. You may qualify to access compensation too.
To learn more about accessing this compensation, get a free case review today.
- American Cancer Society, “Talcum Powder and Cancer” (2020, February 4) https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/talcum-powder-and-cancer.html Accessed April 17, 2020
- American Society of Clinical Oncology. (2020, March 9). Mesothelioma – Statistics. Retrieved March 30, 2020, from https://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/mesothelioma/statistics
- ATDSR: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, “Asbestos and Your Health” (2016, November 3) https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/asbestos/overview.html Accessed April 17, 2020
- ATDSR: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, “Asbestos Toxicity: Where is Asbestos Found?” (2016, August 9) https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/csem/csem.asp?csem=29&po;=5 Accessed on April 17, 2020
- Province of Ontario, Ministry of Labor, “List of Suspects Asbestos-Containing Building Materials” Retrieved from https://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/hs/pubs/asbestos/asbst_app2.php Accessed on 20 December, 2017
- United States Department of Labor Occupational Safety & Health Administration “Asbestos Standards – Products” Retrieved from https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/asbestos/standards.html Accessed on 20 December, 2017
- United States Environmental Protection Agency, “US Federal Bans on Asbestos Products” Retrieved from https://www.epa.gov/asbestos/us-federal-bans-asbestos Accessed on 20 December, 2017
Easier Than It May Seem
Your individual situation may merit an actual lawsuit. However, it doesn’t have to be that complicated. Trusts have been set up to benefit victims of mesothelioma in such a way that lawsuits and court appearances aren’t needed. Contact us today and you’ll see how easy it can be to get the compensation you deserve.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who can file a mesothelioma claim?
A person who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma – as well as their spouse, child, or family member – may be able to file a claim to recover compensation from manufacturers of asbestos products. If the mesothelioma patient passes away, a family member or estate representative may also be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
How much money is in the asbestos trust fund?
An estimated $30 billion has been set aside in asbestos trust funds to compensate mesothelioma patients. Many companies that made asbestos products later filed for bankruptcy, so they created these trust funds to pay out future mesothelioma claims. If the company responsible for your asbestos exposure no longer exists, you may be entitled to money from their trust fund.
How do I file a mesothelioma claim?
To file a mesothelioma claim, contact an attorney who is experienced with these types of lawsuits. They will know where and when to file your claim, how to build the strongest case possible, and the best way to maximize compensation on your behalf.
What is the statute of limitations on mesothelioma claims?
The statute of limitations (deadline to file) for mesothelioma claims will vary depending on the state in which you file. In many states, it’s 2-3 years from the date of the mesothelioma diagnosis – though it may be longer if the mesothelioma patient has passed away. A mesothelioma lawyer can make sure your claim is filed within the required time frame.
How long do mesothelioma claims take?
Every mesothelioma claim is different, with circumstances and factors that are unique to that mesothelioma patient’s story. Though there’s no way to predict exactly how long a claim will take, an experienced mesothelioma attorney will ensure the process is handled as efficiently as possible.
Many claimants start to receive compensation in as few as 90 days after settling their mesothelioma claims.
What is the average payout for mesothelioma?
There is no guarantee of compensation when you file a mesothelioma claim, and countless factors affect how much money you might be able to recover (assuming your case settles). That said, 95% of these lawsuits are settled out of court, and the average settlement amount is $1-1.4 million.
How much is my mesothelioma claim worth?
Your mesothelioma case value depends on the specifics of your situation, such as the duration of your asbestos exposure, and the total cost of your mesothelioma treatment (as well as travel expenses and other related losses). The best way to figure out how much your claim is worth is to speak with a mesothelioma lawyer.
What type of mesothelioma claim do I have?
Most mesothelioma claims fall under one of four categories:
- Personal injury: You were exposed to asbestos (often through your job, or your loved one’s), so you file a lawsuit against the company that made the asbestos products.
- Asbestos trust fund: Similar to a personal injury claim, only the company in question went bankrupt, so you can’t sue them – but you may be able to access a trust fund they set aside for mesothelioma victims.
- Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits: U.S. military veterans who were exposed to asbestos during their service may qualify for related health care benefits through the VA.
- Wrongful death: When a mesothelioma patient passes away, their family member or estate representative may be able to file a lawsuit on their behalf, seeking money to pay for past medical expenses, pain and suffering, funeral expenses, etc.
A mesothelioma attorney can determine which type of claim makes the most sense for you and your family. (Some clients qualify for more than one.)