Wednesday, September 30, 2009

CPSIA - Crain's Says We're About to Get Sued

In this week's Crain's Chicago Business, the news periodical speculate on which mass tort action could succeed asbestos as the next gravy train for plaintiff's attorneys. And guess who makes a guest appearance???

Asbestos and the legal black hole

By: Steven R. Strahler
September 28, 2009

Asbestos has lived up to its Greek origin — "inextinguishable" — on legal and medical landscapes alike: Mass tort actions involving asbestos have bankrupted more than 60 makers and users of the once-widespread insulating material, starting with Johns-Manville Corp. in 1982 and claiming Chicago's USG Corp. in 2001.

Odds are, corporate defendants won't see another mass tort topic like it: more than 700,000 claims pending against 8,000-plus defendants and estimated costs exceeding $250 billion. Because asbestos-related symptoms can take 30 years or more to manifest, the litigation is expected to last until mid-century.

. . . .

"No, there is no asbestos-like gravy train pulling up in front of the American Bar Assn.," says Robert Hartwig, president of the Insurance Information Institute. Still, he says, "there are great unknowns, like climate change and latent manifestation of occupational disease."

Among the most likely post-asbestos targets for plaintiffs' attorneys:

. . . .

Product liability

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 requires independent testing of children's products, including cribs and metal jewelry, empowers state attorneys general to file federal actions and increases penalties, all of which will boost opportunities for mass-tort suits.

1 comment:

Ben said...

It's fuuny you should bring this up. Over the weekend I was searching for information on a new mattress and discovered the flame retardant chemicals that now must be used, per CPSC regulation, starting a few years ago, and thought that will become the new asbestos down the line.

Apparently, in their bid to protect the public from around 300 deaths per year from mattresses catching fire from open flames, all mattresses starting in 2007 have to meet open flame standards. So in their infinate wisdom the CPSC is allowing the mattress maunfactures to use known carcinigens as flame retardants to meet the new standard.

The CPSC's own results show that daily leaching from the mattresses into the body for some of the chemicals will be above EPA recommended limits, yet the CPSC insists these levels are safe.

I find it beyond rediculous that the CPSC will crusade against safe substances like rhinestones which Rick has shown would require swallowing thousands to raise lead levels in the body yet they have no issue with every man, woman, and child in the country sleeping on toxic chemicals for up to 8 hours a day for the rest of their lives. This to protect us from a 1in 1 million chance of being burned alive on our mattress.

So in a couple of decades after years of continuous exposure this could very well be the asbestos of the 21st century