Risks of Asbestos Exposure Leading to Asbestosis & Mesothelioma

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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Asbestos exposure was common among several industries for many, many years. Even though asbestos isn’t used anymore, asbestos lawsuits continue to be filed by people who have developed asbestosis and mesothelioma. Unfortunately, many don’t realize that these conditions don’t generally manifest for decades after asbestos exposure.

What Is Asbestosis?

Asbestosis is a chronic breathing disorder caused by inhaling asbestos fibers. Although it is non-fatal, it can ultimately lead to life-threatening complications through scarring of lung tissue, diminished breathing capacity and possibly lung cancer.

People with asbestosis often develop the disease after asbestos exposure from occupations in construction, shipbuilding, automotive repair, steelwork and boiler-tending. Tragically, many employers failed to warn their workers of the dangers of exposure or to provide them with appropriate protective clothing.

Asbestosis continues to take the lives of U.S. citizens. In fact, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), an astonishing 632 New Yorkers died from health issues associated with asbestosis from 1995 – 2005. New York State had the seventh highest number of asbestos-related deaths in the nation. These statistics reveal that an alarming number of people were needlessly exposed to the lethal asbestos fibers when it could easily have been prevented.

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What Is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a rare and deadly form of cancer that manifests itself years after the inhalation of airborne asbestos fibers. The higher the exposure to asbestos, the higher the risk of developing lung cancer and mesothelioma. Mesothelioma symptoms and symptoms of asbestos-related lung cancer often appear decades after exposure to asbestos has taken place.

There is no known cure for mesothelioma and treatment options haven’t advanced much in the past 25 years. Unfortunately, most people with mesothelioma die from the disease within four to 14 months after being diagnosed.

Most people who were exposed to asbestos many years ago don’t think that they are still at risk for developing mesothelioma – especially since asbestos is not used in new applications. However, asbestos attorneys say that it’s common for someone to hear about an old friend being diagnosed with mesothelioma after working with asbestos many years prior – and be confronted with the reality that they too may be at risk.

Mesothelioma is not dose related, which means that you don’t have to have direct exposure to asbestos to develop the disease. In fact, the wives of many husbands who worked with asbestos many years ago are generally shocked when they find out that they have developed mesothelioma simply from laundering their husband’s clothes.

Who Is at Greater Risk of Asbestos Injury?

The people at greatest risk of developing an asbestos-related injury are those with very heavy exposure over many years on the job. Generations of Americans were exposed to deadly asbestos fibers while serving in Naval shipyards during World War II and subsequent wars. American auto plants are also notorious for exposing factory workers to asbestos, an ingredient still utilized to this day in automobile brake shoe linings.

Mesothelioma, frequently the result of an employer’s choice for greater profits over worker health safety, is usually caused by workplace exposure to airborne asbestos fibers – which can exist in older buildings and products. In fact, the makers of asbestos and asbestos-containing products and the companies that marketed them to the public, knew all too well of the dangers to a person’s health.

If you think you might have an asbestos lawsuit , contact an experienced asbestos lawyer today to discuss your situation and determine if you might be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

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