10,000 Deaths a Year From Asbestos
Mesothelioma cancer and asbestos poisoning are causing more than 10,000 deaths every year in the United States. The number of mesothelioma, asbestos lung cancer and asbestosis deaths are far greater than the number of skin cancer deaths in America. According to estimates one out of every 125 Americans of 50 years and above died due to mesothelioma, asbestosis and other asbestos related diseases.
However, the scary statistics regarding this killer substance has not been able to bring about a complete ban of asbestos in America. The country’s representatives could do nothing about Canadian and Russian designs to thwart the attempts of placing Chrysotile asbestos on the worldwide list of toxic chemicals. At the Rotterdam Convention, a group of nations under the aegis of Canada and Russia opposed a move to ban the export of Chrysotile asbestos.
Even in America, a bill by Senator Pat Murray (Ban of Asbestos in America Act) was defeated in 2003 and 2004. The proposed bill would have prohibited manufacturing, processing, import, or distribution of asbestos–containing products in America. However, a diluted version of this bill was tacked to the First Hatch Asbestos bill (S.B. 1125) that later on became S. B. 2290.
SB 2290 has provisions for establishment of an asbestos trust fund for providing compensation to asbestos and mesothelioma victims. Funding of the trust would come from companies related to asbestos claims. However, the proposed trust has met with stiff opposition from different quarters on various grounds. The first flaw in the bill is that it would deprive mesothelioma cancer and asbestos victims their legitimate right for jury trial. The bill will have a dollar value for asbestos diseases, which mesothelioma attorneys say is insufficient to cover the medical costs, loss of earnings and sufferings. Lastly, the proposed bill and trust fund would be insufficient to provide appropriate compensation to large number of asbestos victims.