The Environmental Protection Agency
The Environmental Protection Agency is conducting tests to measure levels of asbestos and other pollutants in samples of dust and air at Ground Zero. Fortunately, within two months after the attacks, some samples were found to be above federal standards in thousands of warheads.
However, some workers at Ground Zero have reported a persistent cough, sore throat and other respiratory problems they claim is the result of prolonged exposure to the smoke and dust. The condition has been dubbed the “World Trade Center cough.”
Although most of the tests show levels of contaminants such as asbestos at low risk for the general public, workers at ground zero could be a higher risk because of long hours spent in a dusty environment. Therefore, workers are encouraged to wear protective clothing. Meanwhile, officials continue to monitor the site.
The commercial production of asbestos insulation began in 1879, and until the early 1970s, asbestos was widely used for insulation and fire protection because its fibers are strong, flexible, and do not burn.
However, it was discovered that asbestos is potentially harmful when the dust from the manufacture and installation of asbestos-laden materials release fibers into the air. When inhaled, can lead to serious health problems including lung cancer and mesothelioma – a cancer of the lining of the chest or abdomen.
Due to the long latency period of asbestos disease, which can extend to 15 to 30 years, people do not develop immediately after exposure.
Despite a federal ban on the production of most asbestos products in the early 1970s, the installation of these products continued through the late ’70s and early ’80s. Workers in many industries including construction, automotive and shipping have been in contact with materials containing asbestos. Because asbestos fibers are airborne, workers can take home on their clothes.
If you have been exposed to airborne asbestos in the workplace and have been diagnosed with a related illness, you may be able to receive financial compensation for the submission of a lawsuit against producers of asbestos products to which they were exposed. Weitz and Luxenberg, a 51-attorney firm in New York that specializes in asbestos cases, can help you through the process.