When asked, “What keeps you up at night?” our partners and associates invariably say, “Our clients.” The stories clients share about their asbestos exposure, which sometimes went on for years, moves us to hold companies accountable for endangering the health and safety of their workers. When our clients tell us about their harrowing medical journeys, filled with chronic pain and other debilitating symptoms, we want to advocate fiercely for them to receive the justice and compensation they deserve. At SWMW Law, our clients are our passion and reason for showing up every day.
And through each client story, we are reminded of the power and need for asbestos awareness.
Why We Need Global Awareness About Asbestos
It’s not enough that the world knows the word “asbestos.” It falls on our ears as something harmful and toxic, but of the past. We think of outdated buildings being remodeled with asbestos abatement measures. While we’d like to believe our government agencies have taken steps to protect citizens from this known carcinogen, asbestos is sadly not a problem of the past. Its harmful effects live on in the victims of exposure, and their families, who walk through the doors of SWMW Law each day.
Asbestos is not merely a mineral, nor the once-lauded building material. It’s the cause of generations of illness and suffering, not to mention the financial strain and emotional toll it has exacted on the family members of the sick. Asbestos is also the reason for much corporate and government negligence and harm. It’s heartbreaking to think of all the lives that could have been saved or spared pain, if only there had been greater awareness in the past.
We are proud to help amplify the voice of every person affected by asbestos. Everyone should know the men and women we serve and represent. Their lives were disrupted and irrevocably changed, all because they showed up to work. Because they trusted that their employers and the manufacturers of the materials they worked with to look out for their best interests, to see their lives as more important than cost savings or profit boosting.
The Power of GAAW 2021
Every year during Global Asbestos Awareness Week, we are encouraged by the collaborative efforts of experts, scientists, victims, advocates, and legislators to magnify the cause of asbestos awareness and enact change. These processes can take years, and the community never stops works tirelessly to overcome hurdles and make progress. To put it frankly, it shouldn’t be so hard to get a ban on a known toxic substance with a legacy of illness and death.
GAAW is a time when asbestos advocates and attorneys at SWMW Law find a renewed sense of purpose in our work, along with encouragement and partnership. We’re reminded of how many others are behind the same cause we are, how they have dedicated their lives and careers to making a difference in the lives of asbestos victims. We come away from the week recharged, energized, and more ready than ever to continue fighting to get victims the compensation and care they deserve.
How SWMW Law Fights for Asbestos Victims Daily
Tomorrow, we’ll return to the SWMW Law offices and remote offices. We’ll continue meeting with clients and their families, preparing cases, conducting investigative research, and building on the $500 million we’ve recovered for victims to date.
“From our first meeting, I knew we were in good hands with SWMW Law. Their knowledge of my situation, the hustle to get things moving and the protection of my privacy were outstanding. Everyone was so helpful. Thank you, SWMW Law.” - Ray G.
Beyond our practice, we continue our advocacy in many other ways. We’re long-time supporters of the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (MARF) and the American Lung Association. Our attorneys regularly present at conferences or the Illinois State Bar Association, publish papers in national journals, and have testified before the U.S. Senate to ensure victims’ voices shape our legislation.
Brandon Belt, one of SWMW’s associates, is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force who offers a wealth of skills and experiences to working with asbestos clients and their families. “I bring a medical background and experience caring for people. I know people just want to be heard and listened to. They want you to understand their suffering and do everything you can to help them. That’s our specialty at SWMW Law.”
This attitude is a central part of every attorney’s approach at SWMW. We don’t just file suits or go to court. We connect with people and their stories and dedicate ourselves to relieving some of their burden by seeking damages and compensation for their medical bills and emotional distress.
We Won’t Stop Until There’s a Full Ban
When we tell people that the U.S. has never fully banned asbestos, they’re often baffled. While there’s been a partial ban in place since 1986, the EPA has largely stuck to limiting asbestos use, discontinuing asbestos in selected products, or set out to further evaluate the risks of asbestos. In fact, it took until 2019 for the EPA to rule that “discontinued asbestos products cannot be reintroduced into commerce without the Agency evaluating them and putting in place any necessary restrictions or prohibiting use.” In 2005, there was still a shocking 2,400 metric tons of asbestos used in the U.S.
It’s hard to comprehend why, after all the research on the dangers of asbestos, the EPA wouldn’t simply block the reintroduction of discontinued asbestos products. There is irrefutable evidence that asbestos fibers get lodged in lungs and other soft tissue, leading to cancers and mesothelioma, for which there is no cure.
We don’t have an answer as to why the U.S. won’t follow suit with 55 other countries who have banned it completely. Part of the explanation is the power and funding of powerful lobbyists and special interest groups who are trying to protect corporations and their insurance companies from having to pay damages to asbestos victims and their families.
None of these partial measures can ever have the effect of a full and complete ban on asbestos. SWMW Law along with the entire asbestos community will continue the fight until it’s achieved.
Being here, you’re part of the global awareness campaign. We are grateful you spent this week with us and the wider community, and we hope you continue to stay active in raising awareness. Share out in your social channels, amplify the voices of victims, and lend your voice to change movements like laws and regulations designed to protect our health.