Asbestos was widely used during the mid-20th century because the mineral had many properties that made it a useful construction material. Asbestos is resistant to fire, electrical damage, chemical damage and heat exposure. Asbestos was also inexpensive and was easily mined in large-scale operations.
Asbestos has now been linked to serious and potentially fatal complications. Federal limits on asbestos exposure were imposed in the United States in 1972, but asbestos had already become one of the most popular and commonly used materials in manufacturing, construction and shipbuilding. This meant that by 1972 when the limits were set, as many as 10,000 people were dying each year due to asbestos-related illnesses.
Today, individuals and workers are still exposed to asbestos in home or work environments, often because of inadequate abatement efforts or because of failure to follow precautions when working with or removing asbestos-based products.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a health condition as a result of asbestos exposure, you may have certain legal rights. An experienced attorney at Roberts & Roberts can help you to pursue a claim for compensation.
Asbestos and Mesothelioma
Exposure to asbestos can cause a number of health problems, including lung cancer, asbestosis, COPD, lung disease and other related conditions. One of the most common and serious consequences of asbestos exposure is mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is an aggressive and deadly cancer that occurs as a result of breathing in asbestos fibers. The cancer was first identified in medical literature as early as 1931 and was linked to asbestos by the 1940s. Thousands of people have died from mesothelioma in the decades since.
Mesothelioma may not develop until as long as 30 to 40 years after the initial exposure to asbestos. It generally occurs because asbestos dust is swallowed or inhaled, which allows the asbestos fibers to settle in the lungs or inside the stomach. There, the fibers can cause irritation that may develop over time into mesothelioma.
The Mayo Clinic indicates that it is not clear how or why exposure to asbestos leads to mesothelioma. However, the link between asbestos fibers and this rare cancer has been well established. The Mayo Clinic lists risk factors for mesothelioma as not just a personal history of asbestos exposure, but also living with someone who has worked with asbestos. This means that even casual contact with the asbestos fibers on the clothing or skin of a loved one may be enough to cause mesothelioma.
The Dangers of Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that forms in the thin layer of tissues that cover internal organs. Typically, the cancer grows in the tissue surrounding the lungs (pleura). However, in rare cases, mesothelioma can also develop in the tissue in the abdomen, in the tissue around the testicles and in the tissue around the heart.
Symptoms of mesothelioma vary depending upon the affected body part. For those who develop the cancer in the lungs, symptoms may include difficulty breathing, coughing, unusual lumps under the skin of the chest, and pain in the chest under the rib cage. Unexplained weight loss is also a potential symptom. Those who develop the cancer in the abdomen, on the other hand, may experience swelling, pain and potential lumps or growths.
Regardless of whether mesothelioma is in the lungs or in the abdomen, this type of cancer has very serious consequences. A cure is usually impossible, although there are some treatment methods used to slow the spread of cancer and improve quality of life. Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation are all potential treatment methods that try to eliminate the cancer from the body or to slow the spread of cancer.
The costs of these treatments can be very expensive. Victims can also experience significant pain and discomfort as a result of mesothelioma and may be unable to work to earn a living. Those whose family members have died as a result of mesothelioma may also experience significant damage, including lost financial support and lost companionship.
An Asbestos Exposure Attorney Can Help
Those who are harmed by asbestos exposure should not have to bear the costs alone. The companies responsible for the victim’s asbestos exposure may be held accountable for the losses suffered by someone who develops mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases.
Because of the significant complications associated with asbestos cases and because the losses with a diagnosis of mesothelioma are often so great, it is important to have an experienced and caring attorney representing you.
At Roberts & Roberts, our lawyers have helped many people who have been harmed by dangerous products like asbestos. To learn more about how we can help with your asbestos claim, give us a call at 903-597-6000 or use our online form to schedule a free consultation.