Published on 11 Sep 2016 | 10 months ago
Litigation related to asbestos injuries and property damages has been claimed to be the longest-running mass tort in U.S. history. Since asbestos-related disease has been identified by the medical profession in the late 1920s, workers' compensation cases were filed and resolved in secrecy, with a flood of litigation starting in the United States in the 1970s, and culminating in the 1980s and 1990s. A massive multi-district litigation (MDL) complex filing has remained pending in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania for over 20 years. As many of the scarring-related injury cases have been resolved, asbestos litigation continues to be hard-fought among the litigants, mainly in individually brought cases for terminal cases of asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other cancers.
Many of those who I see in my surgeries have worked in a number of workplaces and they could have been exposed to asbestos in each of them, but medical science is such that no one can identify which of them it is. As a result, there has been a long and complex history of legal discussion on how to apportion liability. The lawyers and the judiciary have wrestled, rightly and valiantly, with complex and difficult law, but it has created despair for the families whom we represent. Many of my constituents’ families have been riven by the consequences of litigation in trying to get some compensation for a disease that has been contracted through no fault of theirs. That is cruel and unacceptable
Asbestos is listed as a category of controlled waste under Annex I of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal . Specifically, any waste streams having asbestos (dust and fibres) as constituents are controlled (Item Y36). In general terms, Parties to the Convention are required to prohibit and not permit the export of hazardous wastes to the Parties which have prohibited the import of such wastes via the notification procedure in Article 13 of the Convention