In 1970, The Occupational Health and Safety Act was passed, resulting in the first standards for asbestos in the workplace. In 1971, The Environmental Protection Agency determined asbestos is a hazardous air pollutant. In 1976, The National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety calls for a ban on asbestos in the workplace. In 1989, The Environmental Protection Agency issues the “Asbestos Ban and Phase-Out Rule.” During almost two decades of victims dying from asbestos-related illnesses, hundreds of mesothelioma lawyer professionals were being inundated with victims of illegal asbestos exposure that occurred up to 4 decades prior.
After the success of the EPA of passing a ban and phase-out rule, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned their efforts in 1991. In 1998, The International Program for Chemical Safety determines there is no safe exposure for chrysotile asbestos, meaning anyone coming into contact with this deadly carcinogen carries an extreme risk of developing mesothelioma cancer or other deadly asbestos-related disease. In 2002, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray introduces the Ban Asbestos in America Act of 2002. Unbelievably, it is not until 2006 that The World Health Organization and the International Labor Organization agree that all forms of asbestos are carcinogens, safe thresholds of exposure do not exist and the eradication of asbestos is vital to stop asbestos-related diseases. By this time, thousands of victims and each mesothelioma lawyer are settling out of court for millions in monetary damages.
In 2007, The Senate unanimously passes the Ban Asbestos in America Act. In that same year, U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum introduces the Bruce Vento Ban Asbestos and Prevent Mesothelioma Act (HR 6903). Finally, survivors of mesothelioma are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which was originally established to protect against discrimination in the workplace.
Finally, the rights of employees are taken into consideration as the law forces employers with employees totaling 15 or more are required by law to make reasonable accommodations for those employees suffering with cancer. These accommodations may include a change in job duties, flex time, longer lunch hours, adaptive equipment to facilitate an employee’s job duties, ergonomic chairs, and work breaks. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) protects the jobs of cancer survivors at companies with more than 50 employees. It permits for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave and guarantees the continuation of benefits and health insurance during that time. The specific increments of the leave are defined as not having to be taken in sequence, thereby allowing flexibility for medical procedures and treatment. A mesothelioma lawyer knows the ins-and-outs of these acts and will share this information with their clients. They will also help make sure these laws are enforced.