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The first asbestos studies

Most of us have heard stories about the harmful effects of prolonged exposure to asbestos. A century ago it was commonplace for it to reside in the walls of a person’s work or home.

7908037_MWhile the United States government stated in 1918 that asbestos was harmful, it was not until the 1930s that a doctor began looking into the actual effects of exposure.

Dr. Edward Merewether published a study called, “Report on the Effects of Asbestos Dust on Lungs.” After examining hundreds of workers that had been exposed to asbestos, he found that one in four workers exposed to asbestos suffered from poor health. Moreover, the study noted disease from asbestos could stay dormant for many years and that the best way to control asbestos was through respirators or the ventilation system. He recommended that employers inform their employees of the full risk of being exposed to asbestos and that measures were put in place to protect workers who were exposed to asbestos. If this doctor’s recommendations had been followed it would have saved thousands of lives. Three years later, in 1933, the first case of Asbestosis was reported in America.

Eventhough studies continued to show that asbestos had negative health effects and could even be linked to mesothelioma and other cancers, it was not until the 1950s that there was mainstream acceptance. It took even longer for Congress to pass the Clean Air Act in 1970, which authorized the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate asbestos as a hazardous air pollutant. Today, thankfully, we have safe ways to remove asbestos from inside the walls of our homes and businesses.

If you want to ensure that you are insured for this environmental concern or other related hazards, please visit our website for more information on how the team at C&S Specialty Underwriters can help.