Asbestos continues to impact millions of people. Its silent prevalence in housing and construction claims the lives of over 10,000 Americans annually. Though the U.S. government has regulated its use, asbestos will continue to endanger people as long as it remains legal.
Asbestos has made its presence known in several unlikely industries, including the jewelry industry. Individuals who own gemstone jewelry may find asbestos hanging around their neck.
Some precious gems contain asbestos
Mineral crystals make up a considerable amount of gemstone jewelry worn by many. Several people also collect these semiprecious stones as mineral specimens, namely children. Several of these minerals contain asbestos fibers. Should these stones break or incur damage, individuals risk exposure. Though this kind of minimal exposure to asbestos rarely results in lasting damage, these carcinogenic products remain in demand.
Those at highest risk of exposure through these precious stones are jewelers. Tasked with working directly with these stones, these professionals face potentially lethal exposure every day. Lapidaries, those who give shape to gemstones through the artful use of saws and grinders, risk the most exposure. Their work sends asbestos fibers into the air, where they may work their way into nearby lungs.
Gemstones that contain asbestos include tiger’s eye, cat’s eye, hawk’s eye, silkstone, mesolite, pietersite, binghamite, brucite, and many more. Though jewelers incur a lower risk than other professionals who must work with asbestos, many will continue to risk their lives to satisfy the demand for the harmful products.
Seek justice through legal recourse
Unfortunately, asbestos regulation is unlikely to change any time soon. The long legal history surrounding products that contain this harmful chemical goes a long way toward preventing lawmakers from attempting any changes. The only recourse left to those suffering from asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma is through legal means.
Those with questions about filing a potential claim for their exposure to asbestos can find answers with a local lawyer familiar with the legal territory.