Although asbestos is strictly regulated in the home and workplace today, for many years millions of people were inadvertently exposed to this toxic substance. Countless workers who were exposed developed diseases — and many of them died as a result of the exposure. People suffer asbestos exposure far less commonly today, but cases of toxic asbestos poisoning still arise and workers and consumers are wise to be wary of asbestos.
Exposure to asbestos primarily occurred in trades involving construction work, shipbuilding, mining, milling, the manufacturing of textiles and automotive repairs. People who may have been exposed to asbestos include:
- Demolition workers
- Drywall removers
- U.S. Navy personnel
Asbestos is also in many building materials in older homes. When found, its removal must be performed only by a licensed California removal contractor. Naturally occurring asbestos poses another serious problem for Californians.
What is asbestos?
Asbestos is extremely toxic and the unknowing inhalation of airborne asbestos fibers can lead to problems as late as 20 to 30 years after exposure. Tiny asbestos particles lodge in the lining of the lungs, chest and stomach cavity where they can cause the development of asbestosis or a cancer such as mesothelioma.
Dealing with asbestos in California
Several local, state and federal agencies regulate the disposal of asbestos waste:
- The Department of Toxic Substances Control handles disposal and transport issues (916-255-3618).
- The Department of Consumer Affairs' Contractors State License Board provides information on the certification requirements for asbestos abatement contractors (800-321-2752).
- Cal-OSHA (Department of Industrial Relations) is charged with worker safety and asbestos exposure issues (415-972-8589).
If you or a loved one has developed mesothelioma, do not hesitate to contact a skilled attorney for help with protecting your rights.