U.S. asbestos imports condemned by health experts, activists

Posted by Robyn, April 5, 2013

asbestosMore than 50 countries have banned asbestos, a toxic mineral used in building materials, insulation, automobile brakes and other products.

The United States isn’t one of them. Last year, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, 1,060 metric tons – more than 2.3 million pounds – came into the country, all of it from Brazil. “Based on current trends,” the USGS says, “U.S. asbestos consumption is likely to remain near the 1,000-ton level…”

Public health experts and anti-asbestos activists find this distressing.

Linda Reinstein, who lost her husband to mesothelioma, an especially virulent form of cancer tied to asbestos exposure, said she’s “appalled and disgusted that the United States still allows the importation of asbestos to meet so-called manufacturing needs.

“We’ve known for decades that safer substitutes exist,” said Reinstein, president of the California-based Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization. “We’re facing a public health crisis where more than 30 Americans die every day from preventable, asbestos-caused diseases.”

To mark National Asbestos Awareness Week, Reinstein plans to hold a press conference in Washington today to highlight U.S. investment firms she says hold stakes in Brazilian asbestos mining and production. “It’s time we protect public health over the profits of these companies,” she said.

via U.S. asbestos imports condemned by health experts, activists | The Center for Public Integrity.