Lung Cancer Lawsuits: The EPA & FDA

What is Asbestos? Asbestos is a group of six naturally occurring minerals that are made up of heat-resistant, flexible fibers that also resist corrosion, and electricity. While these qualities make asbestos an extremely useful fiber, it can be highly toxic. Asbestos was used in thousands of products marketed to consumers before the dangers came to light. When asbestos dust is inhaled or ingested, the microscopic asbestos fibers can become trapped in the body, causing diseases like lung cancer. The area where the fibers are trapped will show inflammation and scarring.   

While asbestos is regulated in the United States, it is not banned here as it is in many countries. Toxic asbestos exposure is more likely to occur in occupational settings than in homes but can be found in older homes in particular.  The primary exporters of asbestos are Russia, China, and Kazakhstan. While asbestos can be found on its own in large deposits, it can also be found in conjunction with talc and vermiculite.

There are no levels of asbestos that are considered safe, but those who have the worst effects have likely experienced either an intense concentration of asbestos or have been exposed over a long period of time.  Mesothelioma is a cancer that is almost exclusively caused by exposure to asbestos. Another serious disease caused by mesothelioma exposure is lung cancer.

Asbestos exposure kills nearly 40,000 Americans each year from malignant mesothelioma, lung cancer, and other related diseases. It is estimated that more than 1.3 million workers still remain at risk of asbestos exposure and that 27 million workers were exposed to aerosolized asbestos products between 1940 and 1979. Some jobs that remain at high risk for exposure to asbestos and the potential for developing lung cancer include:

  • Oilfield brake block repair
  • Firefighting
  • Renovation and demolition
  • Automotive repair
  • Sheet gasket use
  • Shipbuilding
  • Building and equipment maintenance

Can Asbestos Cause Lung Cancer? When asbestos fibers are inhaled into the lung tissues, lung cancer can result. Lung cancer is different than mesothelioma, as lung cancer develops inside the lungs while mesothelioma occurs on the outside lining of the lung. There are two primary forms of lung cancer caused by asbestos exposure—small cell, and non-small cell. Symptoms of lung cancer can develop anywhere from 15 to 35 years after exposure and may include coughing up blood, chest pain, a persistent cough, hoarseness, fatigue, loss of appetite, swelling of the face or neck, chronic respiratory diseases, and shortness of breath.

Despite the fact that asbestos lung cancer can take many years to develop, once it has developed, it can spread (metastasize) quickly. Lung cancer claims more lives than any of the other asbestos-related diseases. Not every person exposed to asbestos will develop lung cancer, although those with the longest and heaviest exposures have a much higher risk. Genetics, smoking history, and overall health will also contribute to the development of lung cancer. Symptoms of lung cancer are usually not noticeable until the cancer has reached a late stage of development. Diagnosing lung cancer is usually done with CT scans, PET scans, and x-rays, then a biopsy is done to confirm the diagnosis. Surgery to remove the cancerous lung tumor, chemotherapy, radiation, and immunotherapy are all treatments for those with asbestos lung cancer.

The prognosis for asbestos lung cancer will depend on the type of lung cancer, a patient’s overall health, and how far the cancer has spread when diagnosed. About 18-20 percent of lung cancer patients will survive more than five years following their diagnosis—a number that is significantly lower than the survival rate for other leading cancers like prostate cancer and breast cancer.

What Other Carcinogens Can Cause Lung Cancer? Although smoking is definitely the number one risk factor for lung cancer, there are other carcinogens that can result in lung cancer for non-smokers as well. Secondhand smoke is believed to cause as many as 7,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the United States. Secondhand smoke occurs in those who have never smoked, but who live or work around others who do. Radon gas exposure is another cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Radon occurs naturally from the breakdown of uranium in soil and rocks.

Radon gas is odorless and tasteless as well as invisible. The EPA lists radon gas exposure as the second-leading cause of lung cancer in this country. Radon gas can be more concentrated inside, particularly in basements and in some workplaces. Other carcinogens that can cause lung cancer aside from asbestos, smoking, and radon gas, include silica dust, arsenic, vinyl chloride, cadmium, beryllium, mustard gas, coal products, chromium compounds, nickel compounds, diesel exhaust, and chloromethyl ethers. Some studies have suggested that talc may contain asbestos fibers, therefore, could also cause lung cancer when inhaled.   

What Do the EPA and FDA Say About Asbestos Exposure? In April 2022, the EPA released a proposal to prohibit the ongoing uses of asbestos that is currently being imported into the United States. This proposed ban would protect Americans from chrysotile asbestos exposure, a known carcinogen. Chrysotile asbestos is found in products like asbestos diaphragms, automotive brakes and brake linings, brake blocks, sheet gaskets, and other vehicle friction products. This new EPA proposed ban would rectify a 1991 court decision that essentially overturned the EPA’s 1989 ban on asbestos.

This court decision weakened the EPA’s ability to address the risks from existing carcinogens in the United States. Targeted disposal of asbestos is also being proposed by the EPA, that points to the fact that the United States is the only developed country that has not yet banned asbestos. This EPA proposal would generate significant health benefits from reduced air pollution associated with the generation of electricity. On the FDA side, talcum powder falls under the agency’s purview. There have been questions regarding the potential contamination of talcum powder and some types of makeup with asbestos fibers.

Is There a Trust Fund for Asbestos Lung Cancer? Asbestos trust funds have been set up for those who have developed an asbestos exposure-related disease, including lung cancer. Asbestos companies were forced to set up these trust funds to pay for the medical treatments of those who developed asbestos cancer as a result of the companies products.  There is more than $30 billion in trust funds available for the victims of asbestos-related diseases; these trust funds were set up in the 1980s after it was discovered that millions of workers and their families had been exposed to asbestos in the workplace.  Eligible victims can access money from bankrupt asbestos manufacturers and may even be eligible to file claims with multiple trusts. For most, they can begin receiving payouts from an asbestos trust fund within three months or less.

To take advantage of an asbestos trust fund, you must show that:

  • You suffered exposure to asbestos products
  • The company that made the asbestos-containing products that exposed you to this carcinogen is also the company that set up the trust fund
  • After being exposed to asbestos-containing products, you developed asbestos lung cancer or another type of asbestos-related disease.

A highly qualified asbestos lung cancer lawyer can help you determine which trusts you may qualify for and how long you have to file a claim. A few of the companies with asbestos trust funds include Flexitallic, Bondex, Babcock & Wilcox, Armstrong World Industries, National Gypsum, Johns-Manville Corporation, Federal-Mogul Corporation, DII Industries, Owens Corning Fireboard, Turner & Newall, United States Gypsum, and Western Asbestos Company.

Those exposed to asbestos who developed lung cancer can file a lawsuit against the company—but only if the company has not already declared bankruptcy and has established an asbestos trust fund. You can file an asbestos lung cancer claim against a company that has created an asbestos trust fund and was a long-term leader in the asbestos industry.

Having a strong, highly skilled asbestos lung cancer attorney by your side who can guide you through the process of filing a claim with an asbestos trust fund can make a huge difference in the outcome. If you were exposed to asbestos by a negligent company and are now dealing with lung cancer as a result, a reputable lung cancer law firm can help you through this difficult time, ensuring you get the largest asbestos trust settlement possible.

How Can an Experienced Asbestos Lung Cancer Attorney Help? If you or a loved one has asbestos lung cancer, it is important that you work with an experienced asbestos lawyer. Your lawyer will have a deep understanding of all relevant laws associated with your asbestos lung cancer. A knowledgeable asbestos lung cancer attorney knows exactly how asbestos is used and handled, and how victims of asbestos exposure can take legal action, receiving damages for their lung cancer. Seeking justice for asbestos-related illness or death, including lung cancer, is important to your future and the future of your family members. Your asbestos lung cancer lawyer will know the exact statute of limitations you are under—and will ensure you do not exceed those time limits.

DISCLAIMER: Statutes of Limitations limit the amount of time that an individual has to file a lawsuit, and not only vary from state to state, but also vary by cause of action. The information provided above and in the state-specific pages in this section is meant as a general guide, and is for informational purposes only. Each client’s case is unique, and the specific circumstances of any individual case can have significant bearing on the applicable statute of limitations. Any person who believes they may have a viable cause of action is strongly encouraged to consult with an attorney about the statute of limitations for his or her case. Attorney Andrew Sullo is licensed to practice law in Texas, and can prosecute cases that are part of a federal multi-district litigation. Andrew Sullo does not practice law in any other state, and is not certified by the Boards of Legal Specialization in any state. Not all states have board certifications. This information is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the State of Texas. Our firm is not accepting cases in any state where it would be impermissible for it to do so. Sullo & Sullo, LLP maintains its principal office in Houston, Texas.

WARNING: Do not send any information in any email through this website if you consider the information confidential or privileged.

I understand that by submitting my contact information to Sullo & Sullo LLP for review, I consent to messages regarding this legal matter as well as marketing for other potential legal matters in the future without limitation at standard messaging and data rates unless terminated by me in writing. I further understand that my submission of any and all information in response to this website does NOT create a lawyer-client relationship between myself and Sullo & Sullo, LLP and/or its lawyers, and that any and all information submitted is NOT confidential or privileged. I further acknowledge that, unless Sullo & Sullo, LLP subsequently enters into an Attorney-Client relationship with me, any and all information I provide will NOT be treated as confidential or privileged, and any such information may be used against me and/or for the benefit of current or future clients of Sullo & Sullo, LLP. ...READ ENTIRE DISCLAIMER
Receive an Immediate Response
ANDREW SULLO IS A TOP 100 NATIONAL TRIAL LAWYER 2013 • 2014 • 2015 • 2016 • 2017 • 2018 • 2019
Obtener una Respuesta Inmediata
Andrew Sullo – 100 Mejores Abogados Nacional | 2013 • 2014 • 2015 • 2016 • 2017




Andrew Sullo has been named a




(800) 730-7607

Andrew Sullo is a recipient of the

2016, 2017, 2019-2024



Andrew Sullo is a Member of the




(800) 730-7607
(713) 839-9026
(713) 335-9485