What the Surgeon General Is Saying about Asbestos

According to a statement released by the Acting Surgeon General of the United States, Boris Lushniak, there is no level of exposure to asbestos that is safe for humans. In relation to that statement, he continued that serious provisions should be made to safeguard the public against this substance.

While we have long known that asbestos is the root of diseases like lung cancer, mesothelioma, and other lung-related diseases, it can be difficult to determine whether or not those diseases, when they develop in individuals, are a result of asbestos exposure or another cause. Because many of these diseases take years to develop before they begin to show symptoms, making the connection is difficult and sometimes impossible.

These statements were made in conjunction with an announcement that the Surgeon General would be speaking at the 10th Annual Asbestos Disease Awareness Conference, held by the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization. The ADAO was extremely grateful to hear the Surgeon General’s statement, as they have been campaigning government bodies for almost ten years for help spreading awareness about and reducing the risks of asbestos exposure and the diseases related to that exposure.

Asbestos was widely used in construction applications during a large part of the last century, meaning that many older buildings likely have asbestos in their insulations. Though some suspected that it was a dangerous material, it was lightweight, flame resistant, and inexpensive, making it extremely popular as an insulator for commercial and residential buildings, as well as freight ships and even cruisers built for military use.

When it was discovered that inhaled fibers could burrow their way into the lining of the lung and begin growing aggressive, malignant tumors there, after a period of dormancy, the use of this material was largely discontinued, but the damage was done. Across the country, schools, offices, and homes already contained the material, exposing millions and millions to these dangerous fibers.

According to the president of the ADAO, 10,000 people in the U.S. die from asbestos-related illnesses every year. Her organization has been petitioning Congress to pass a ban on the use of asbestos as an insulation material, which would make it the fifty-sixth country in the world to do so. 950 tons of Asbestos are still used every year in manufacturing plants around the country, exposing countless workers and civilians to the materials, even though it is widely known that it is a carcinogen.

The Acting Surgeon General’s statement shows progress for the ADAO’s request. Having been acknowledge by a high ranking government officials lends legitimacy to the ADAO’s crusade, and there is hope that the near future will see a ban on this harmful material.

About Brickley Environmental

Brickley Environmental creates safe-and-sound schools, homes, and buildings by designing and executing safe, cost-effective containment, abatement and removal solutions. We do it right the first time — making your profits predictable while supporting your ethical standards and reputation for excellence — and have served Southern California for over 30 years.