Asbestos FAQs

What Is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a set of six naturally occurring fibrous minerals. They are extremely heat resistant. The name actually comes from the Greek word Asbestinon which means inextinguishable. Their physical characteristics and ability to be mined cheaply made them very desirable in the commercial market place. They are easily woven into fabric to make it fire retardant and easily combined with various insulating materials to make them heat and fire resistant. Asbestos; however, produces a dust that when inhaled or digested can be toxic.

What Is Mesothelioma?

Malignant Mesothelioma is a rare primary tumor. This cancer develops and attacks cells in the tissue that lines and protects the body cavity called the mesothelium. Its most common site is the pleura (outer lining of the lungs and internal chest wall), this is called Pleural mesothelioma, but it may also occur in the peritoneum (the lining of the abdominal cavity) peritoneal mesothelioma, or the pericardium (a sac that surrounds the heart)pericardial mesothelioma. This cancer causes fluid to build up between the lung and the chest wall which is called plural effusion and results in shortness of breath and extreme difficulty in breathing. Other symptoms include progressive weight loss and pain in the chest and stomach that is generally unresponsive to standard treatment. This condition is often detected radiologically through an X-Ray or CT scan, but a biopsy (actual tissue sample) is needed to confirm a diagnosis. The latency period associated with this type of cancer is anywhere between 20 and 50 years, which means that symptoms of the disease may not even present themselves for between 20 and 50 years from the date of exposure to asbestos. Nearly 3,000 cases of mesothelioma are still reported every year.

Other Asbestos Related Conditions:

Asbestos exposure can result in a number of asbestos related conditions: both malignant and non-malignant.

Non-Malignant conditions included asbestosis and plural disease. Asbestosis is a result of the asbestos fibers becoming lodged in the parenchymal tissue of the lung and the scar tissue that is created because of the body’s inability to dispel or eliminate the fiber. Plural Disease or Plural Thickening results when the asbestos fibers become lodged in the pleura or lining of the lung causing calcification and scarring of the tissue

Asbestos is known to cause all forms of lung cancer including squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma and large cell undifferentiated carcinoma of the lung. Asbestos also causes cancer of many organs associated with the pulmonary and digestive systems because it is both inhaled and digested. Laryngeal cancer, Esophageal cancer, Colon Cancer can often be linked to asbestos exposure.

Who Is At Risk? Who Was Exposed?

How and why did this happen to me? There are several different ways to be exposed to asbestos, but the answer is almost always the same… exposure to asbestos. Occupational exposure is the most common. Because of the flame retardant nature of the fiber and cost effectiveness with which it could be obtained, this fibrous mineral has been widely used in a multitude of industries. Construction industry trades such as carpenters, lathers, painters, plumbers, pipefitters, insulators, plasterers drywall workers, bricklayers and cement finishers had a very high incidence of exposure. The automotive industry put mechanics and machinist at risk. Power plant workers and electricians , foundry workers, Textile workers, railroad workers, steel mill workers and welders, paper mill workers and millwrights, Military persons such as Navy Sailors and Merchant Marines, shipyard workers were all put at risk for developing an asbestos related condition.

There is also what is referred to as secondary or indirect exposure. This is when a second person comes in contact with the occupationally exposed individual. Wives who did the laundry, handling clothes covered in asbestos dust, and cleaned up after their spouses upon their return home from work. Or the children who ran up to mommy or daddy after a long day at work for a hug or accompanied them to the jobsite were exposed to asbestos.

Bystanders who never handled the product directly, but were simply present when others performed work that caused the dust to become airborne also were put at risk for the development of an asbestos related condition.

If you have been exposed to asbestos in any of the manners described above or have been diagnosed with an asbestos related disease, you may be entitled to compensation.

Your Legal Rights:

Many companies that manufactured asbestos containing products were aware of the potential harm that could result from the use of their product. As early as the 1920’s up until the mid 1970’s, companies chose to use asbestos without displaying warnings of the potential hazards. These companies share liability. You may have the right to recover damages against those manufacturers.

Our firm is dedicated to the fight for the rights of these individuals who were unknowingly exposed and put at risk. Each case is handled individually and given the attention and priority it deserves by our carefully trained legal team.

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