Asbestos and Mesothelioma
Written by Andrew Sarski on March 1, 2011
The Dangers of Asbestos
People most at risk of suffering from health conditions related to asbestos exposure are employees who work in industries that produce and use asbestos, such as construction, mining and milling. While there is less of a threat of asbestos exposure to individuals today than in the past, since asbestos insulation, floor and ceiling tiles, and cement were commonly used in homes and buildings in the past, individuals may still be at risk of exposure today if these materials are damaged. Furthermore, individuals who were exposed to asbestos in the past may have developed a serious illness over time, of which they are still not aware today.
Asbestos Health Risks
The potential for asbestos exposure is typically only critical if asbestos fibers are actually present in the air and being inhaled. The adverse side effects of asbestos exposure depends on a number of circumstances, including:
- The concentration of asbestos fibers in the air
- The size of the asbestos fibers inhaled
- How often the person was exposed
- The length of time the exposure lasted
- The amount of time since the initial exposure
One of the most significant diseases associated with asbestos exposure is mesothelioma, a potentially fatal type of cancer affecting the internal organs’ protective lining, or mesothelium.
Mesothelioma from Asbestos
Mesotheliom is a rare but extremely serious type of cancer which affects the tissue lining the stomach, lungs, heart and other organs. The symptoms associated with mesothelioma vary depending upon the type of mesothelioma, namely which organ the disease has affected. For example, individuals suffering from pleural mesothelioma, which affects the tissue surrounding lungs, may experience chest pain, shortness of breath, coughing, unusual lumps of tissue in the chest, and unexplained weight loss. On the other hand, those who develop peritoneal mesothelioma, in which the disease affects the tissue in the abdomen, may experience abdominal pain and swelling, unexplained weight loss, and unusual lumps in the abdomen. Mesothelioma can cause a number of medical complications, including difficulty swallowing, difficulty breathing, chest pain, pressure on the nerves and spinal cord, accumulation of fluid in the chest, and swelling of the face and neck. Mesothelioma is a very aggressive and deadly form of cancer, and although mesothelioma treatment is available, most people with this disease receive only supportive treatment with the intention of making the victim as comfortable as possible.
Asbestos Exposure and Mesothelioma Lawsuits
Excessive exposure to asbestos can have devastating consequences for an individual, including the development of potentially deadly diseases like mesothelioma. According to the Environmental Working Group Action Fund, approximately 10,000 people die from asbestos-related illnesses in the United States each year. Unfortunately, asbestos exposure can occur from simply cutting or damaging materials in your home, including asbestos-containing insulation, ceiling or floor tiles, or asbestos cement. Unfortunately, many people are not even aware that the building materials in their own homes contain harmful asbestos. Despite these dangers, there is still no ban in place restricting the use of asbestos in homes and buildings in the United States. In fact, it is estimated that 1.3 million U.S. workers involved in construction or building and equipment maintenance are still at risk of being exposed to harmful asbestos.
If you or a loved one has been exposed to toxic asbestos fibers which resulted in the development of severe medical issues like mesothelioma, contact a defective product attorney as soon as possible. You are not at fault and you should not be held responsible for your illness, the medical expenses associated with treating your illness, or the pain and suffering sustained by you and your family. In order to seek financial compensation for these expenses, victims of mesothelioma or other illnesses associated with exposure to asbestos should contact a defective product attorney to discuss the benefits of filing a defective product lawsuit. The first lawsuit against asbestos manufacturers was filed in 1929, and a number of additional lawsuits have been filed in the years since. Some of these lawsuits have awarded asbestos victims millions of dollars in damages. With the help of an experienced defective product lawyer, victims of asbestos exposure can collect the compensation they deserve.