At this point, it is well known that asbestos causes cancer, specifically mesothelioma. Not only is asbestos dangerous for those who work around it, it is also possible for people who work at asbestos-contaminated workplaces to bring home particles of the substance to their families. Asbestos can cause illness in a second hand manner just as it can for the worker directly exposed.
Even though the dangers of asbestos are well-known, the US has not entirely banned its use, even though public health experts have tried to get it entirely banned for decades. According to Forbes Magazine, many products are still manufactured with asbestos, such as car parts and cement products.
What is the history of asbestos?
Due to the cheap nature and high availability of asbestos, it was an extremely popular building material in the US from the 1930s and onward. Asbestos was heavily used during WWII, which is why so many veterans suffer from mesothelioma. It still exists in many old buildings to this day, making demolition projects potentially fatal.
Asbestos was not banned from use in insulation products in the US until the 1970s, so there was plenty of time for the toxic substance to claim thousands of victims. Mesothelioma from asbestos is extremely deadly: around half of those who contract the disease die within the first year.
Why is asbestos still used?
Again, in the majority of verticals there are laws prohibiting the use of asbestos. However, it is still used in some applications for the same reason that it was originally used: it is a very effective insulating substance and extremely cheap. Remember to check what substances comprise building materials in your home or workspace before installing them.