Why is the US Still in the Asbestos Business?

This is another post by frequent contributor Jon L. Gelman who practices law in New Jersey. The post speaks for itself – shockingly the US has still not banned asbestos. We haven’t mined it here since 2002, but we import it from Canada. The fact of the matter is that, as Jon points out “the US imports 99% of the asbestos it consumes from Canada.” In 2010 that was over 1,000 metric tons.

The US still has not banned asbestos. The recently released US Geological Survey just published the latest statistics reporting that 1,040 metric tons of asbestos, a known carcinogen and the cause of mesothelioma,a rare and fatal disease, was consumed in 2010 in the US. Roofing products account for about 72% of US consumption and other applications 28%.

Asbestos use in the U.S. (click to enlarge)

Where does it come from? Our northern neighbor, Canada. Asbestos has not been mined in the US since 2002. The US imports 99% of the asbestos it consumed from Canada. In fact the US consumed 1,040 metric tons in 2010 which was an increased from 869 metric tons in 2009.

If Congress really wanted to improve the health of both its citizens and the economy, it would take appropriate action to ban asbestos in the US.

On a side note, a few months back, the Daily Show did satirical piece on this issue, sending Aasif Mandvi to the real town of Asbestos, Canada. Mandvi’s piece focuses on the portion of Canadian asbestos going to India. It’s astonishing to behold. Here’s the Daily Show’s piece (pardon the ad – it’s from the Daily Show, not us):


About our guest poster: For over 3 decades the Law Offices of Jon L. Gelman in New Jersey have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses. 

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