The Asbestos Trust Fund Bill

A bill continues to languish in Congress which was designed to resolve many thousands of asbestos related lawsuits, leaving many waiting for a just resolution as they continue to endure their painfull illness without compensation.

According to a study released in September 2004 by the American Thoracic Society (ATS), asbestos continues to be a hazard for more than a million American workers in the construction industry and those involved in buildings and equipment maintenance. The study also warns of new products that may contain asbestos,These products may include: brake pads, roofing materials,  and imported cement pipe and cement sheeting that could expose workers to an increased risk of asbestos related cancer.

Although government researchers are reporting a new rush of asbestos related claims, which is expected to continue over the next 20 years, it was believed when the legislation was first introduced in 2000 that the vast majority of asbestos related cancer claims were over, and the legislation was designed to take care of the thousands of remaining cases which were clogging up the courts.

But for many of the asbestos related cancer victims, the fact that the legislation continues to be held up has  meant many patients have been unable to collect damages owed they are certainly entitled to before death takes its toll.  The proposed legislation makes available, to the victims of asbestos related disease, a “trust fund” to take care of the needs of those suffering from mesothelioma and other asbestos related diseases. This legislation would eliminate companies from being sued and unclog courts of tens of thousands of new asbestos claims.

Though a compromise is on the table between the Republican and Democratic Senate leaders on the size of the asbestos fund of $140 billion, there is a lot of dispute and argument that a large number of people with asbestos cancer and other serious asbestos illnesses will be left out.  $140 billon dollars, they say, is insufficient to cover the rush of Americans expected to develop asbestos related disease over the next several decades.

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