ABC News has reported that asbestos-related claims against a major building materials company will reach $264 million for 2018. In addition, the company’s liability to the Asbestos Injuries Compensation Fund (AICF) is expected to jump from $196 million to an astounding $1.853 billion.
The estimate is based on a report by a top, independent accounting firm that says the total AICF liability range is “between $1.35 billion and $3.06 billion, with the $1.85 billion figure being the most likely outcome.” The company has already paid $1.055 billion to the fund, which was established more than a decade ago to cover asbestos-related illness such as lung cancer and mesothelioma.
The accounting firm also reports that the average claim settlement for the company increased from $224,000 in 2017 to $253,000 in 2018. The number of claims received increased slightly from an already disturbing 556 in 2017 to 562 in 2018.
The number of and rise in claims can be attributed to home renovators, according to the accounting firm. The report found that “there was a significant rise in claims from renovators between 2012 and 2015.” And “while that trend has moderated, the claims are still running at substantially higher levels than previously observed.”
If you are considering renovations to your home, the first step is to protect yourself and your family. The City of Flagstaff Environmental Technician (CFET) reports that, “unless your home is made completely of wood, glass or metal there is potential for your home to have asbestos-containing building materials (ACBMs) in it, regardless of when your home was built. Asbestos use in the U.S. is not completely banned and there is potential for asbestos to be present in current building products.”
Asbestos can be found in cement asbestos board (CAB), wall and ceiling insulation, floor coverings (sheet vinyl, vinyl tile, vinyl adhesive), furnaces, boilers, heaters, and piping, interior walls and ceiling, built-in equipment such as oven and dishwashers (in cabinet) units, gas-fired decorative fireplaces, and exterior walls and decks.
The CFET advises homeowners to treat any suspicious materials as if they contain asbestos, and have them sampled by a licensed professional. Samples should be taken only by a licensed Asbestos Hazardous Emergency Response Act (AHERA) building inspector since they are knowledgeable of and trained according to current federal regulations.
“Asbestos in Your Home.” Flagstaff.AZ.Gov. City of Flagstaff Environmental Technician, 2018. Web. 23 Aug. 2018.
“Asbestos Laws and Regulations.” EPA.gov. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 20 Aug. 2018. Web. 23 Aug. 2018.
Letts, Stephen. “James Hardie profit tumbles on mounting asbestos claims,” ABC.net.au. ABC News, 22 May 2018. Web. 23 Aug. 2018.