Exposure to asbestos is frequent in the United States, and Pennsylvania residents are no exception. Asbestos is a common ingredient in manufacturing from automotive to building construction. Although it is a natural mineral, it is not safe in its raw form.

Prolonged exposure to asbestos may cause serious illness, including mesothelioma, which is a respiratory cancer that affects the linings of the lungs and surrounding organs. Workers are more likely to come down with mesothelioma if the most common form of asbestos, or chrysotile, is broken up, and they breathe in the fine dust that floats in the air. Although there are several treatments available as far as managing the disease is concerned, there are no cures. Some people may not get a mesothelioma diagnosis until years after they had been exposed to it, also known as legacy uses.

Although a November 2019 court order required the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, to evaluate the risks of legacy uses as well as disposal of the chemical throughout the years, so far, it has not. The EPA stated that it plans to evaluate all risks but has yet to determine when.

The American Chemistry Council stated that the EPA may have overestimated exposure risks for those who were exposed to asbestos, especially chlor-alkali workers who may suffer exposure by working in factories manufacturing automotive components. Meanwhile, the EPA has until June 2020 to complete a series of assessments concerning the effects that asbestos has on current and retired workers who were exposed to the substance. However, advocacy groups are asking for a delay in that study because medical doctors who would usually weigh in are currently overwhelmed with the COVID-19 crisis.

Those who have a history of working with asbestos or other dangerous substances might be legally entitled to compensation, especially if they became sick on the job because of exposure to hazardous materials. They may be trying to support themselves or their families on reduced incomes, and retired workers may not enjoy a good quality of life because of health issues. An attorney who understands cases involving hazardous materials may work to achieve an outcome that could include financial relief.