Exposure to asbestos can cause devastating illnesses that can lead to death. Despite the government seeking to limit the use of asbestos, a complete ban never happened. This means that exposure to asbestos is still a very real threat. Here’s what everyone ought to know about exposure to asbestos.
What Is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a mineral. Because it has a natural resistance to heat, electricity, and corrosion caused by chemicals, it was an attractive choice for insulation and fireproofing material. Before the government moved to limit its use, it was routinely used in both residential and commercial construction, in shipyards, power plants, oil refineries, and steel mills. It’s also been used for the creation of car parts.
Why Is Exposure to Asbestos So Bad?
By 1960, diseases such as mesothelioma were linked to exposure to asbestos in the United States. However, a German doctor first discovered the link in the 1930’s. Exposure to asbestos has been linked to both cancerous and non-cancerous diseases including but not limited to:
- Asbestos-related lung cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Laryngeal cancer
- Pleural plaque
- Pleural effusion
One of the scariest things about exposure to asbestos and the diseases that may develop is in how long it takes for the diseases to manifest. It can take anywhere between 10 and 50 years for these diseases, many of which are incurable, to develop. Asbestosis may develop 10 years after exposure while cancer may take between 20 and 50 years.
How Are People Exposed to Asbestos?
Exposure to asbestos happens when people inhale or swallow asbestos fibers. These fibers are microscopic. There’s no level of exposure to asbestos that is considered safe. However, it is believed that it takes years of exposure for problems to develop.
The most common way that someone is exposed to asbestos is through their work environment. Environmental exposure is also a possibility. Yet, that is usually a trace amount and rarely causes issues. Secondary exposure to asbestos is also possible, but much like environmental exposure, the small amount that’s inhaled generally isn’t enough to create a medical issue later in life.
Common Places Where Exposure to Asbestos May Occur
Using or being exposed to products that contain asbestos is one of the most common ways that someone is endangered by it. Remember that because asbestos is naturally heat resistant and it’s also resistant to electricity. So, for a very long time, it was regularly used in construction. Living or working in an older building could mean that you’re being exposed to the carcinogen.
Common employment choices that have a risk of exposure to asbestos include:
- Being in the military. Navy ships, military vehicles, and aircraft made (and that are still in service) from 1970 or before have a high risk of asbestos. This includes, but is not limited to, cruisers, aircraft carriers, and submarines.
- Working as a firefighter.
- Working as an auto mechanic.
- Working in a shipyard.
- Working in a power plant.
- Working in older schools.
- Working in a chemical plant.
- Working for an oil refinery.
Were You Diagnosed with a Disease Related to Exposure to Asbestos?
If you were diagnosed with a disease related to exposure to asbestos, you could be eligible to collect compensation. Goldwater Law Firm helps people and their families get the financial compensation they deserve for developing a devastating disease. We provide free case evaluations. Don’t wait. Schedule your consultation now to learn more.