Many Pittsburgh families, as well as those in surrounding Pennsylvania regions, are part of long lines of workers who have spent years of employment in steel mills, shipyards, on the railroad or in coal mines. The city is also rich with old buildings and beautiful architecture that often houses school children, churchgoers and various types of businesses. There are many amenities here that attract tourists and full-time residents as well.
Unfortunately, Pittsburgh also has hidden dangers. Especially if you or a close relative have worked in the industries or locations mentioned earlier, your family may be at risk for adverse health conditions related to asbestos.
Implementation of safety improvements
In the past several decades, officials has implemented regulations to help protect the general population from hazards associated with asbestos, such as those included in the following list:
- Since late August 1989, the Environmental Protection Agency has banned new products containing asbestos from entering the U.S. marketplace.
- The EPA often reviews risks associated with current limited use of asbestos products. There are strict regulations that govern such use, and the agency may address any and all risks it determines from ongoing use of asbestos in Pittsburgh and all other states.
- EPA officials may prohibit use of products or restrict product usage as needed to protect public health.
- As of June 24, 2019, numerous asbestos-containing products will be banned from entering the marketplace, including packing materials, vinyl floor tiles, cement products, adhesives, sealants and other items.
- The Consumer Product Safety Act provides further protection for consumers and the general population regarding asbestos contamination.
The problem with asbestos is that it's microscopic, so you don't know it's there unless you have someone test the air you're breathing. Also, if you have an asbestos-related illness, you might not even be aware of it for a number of years because symptoms do not present immediately and may only occur after a disease has greatly progressed.
If you have a lingering cough, chest or abdominal discomfort, feel fatigued, lack an appetite or have lost weight, it definitely warrants a medical examination, especially if you think you or a loved one was exposed to asbestos. If a doctor diagnoses mesothelioma, asbestosis or another asbestos-related illness, your life will undoubtedly go through many changes because most of these illnesses are terminal.
Employers are legally obligated to provide proper training and equipment to help reduce the risk of workplace injuries, including asbestos exposure and related diseases. If you worked in a place that you later learned contained asbestos and are now suffering ill health, you may want to speak to past co-workers or others who have experienced similar symptoms. Many asbestos-injured workers also seek guidance and support from attorneys experienced in asbestos litigation.