Posted In: Environmental Law & Toxic Torts

If you believe you or someone you know has been injured due to asbestos exposure please contact Slater Slater Schulman LLP at (800) 251-6996 or fill out our online form and an attorney will contact you immediately.

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a dangerous mineral – that when inhaled – can cause serious illnesses, including malignant lung cancer, mesothelioma (a formerly rare cancer strongly associated with exposure to amphibole asbestos), and asbestosis (a type of pneumoconiosis). Long exposure to high concentrations of asbestos fibers is more likely to cause health problems, as asbestos exists in the ambient air at low levels, which itself does not cause health problems, but short term exposure can be just as dangerous.

Who has been exposed to Asbestos?

Although it is possible to have been exposed to asbestos in your very own home, it is more likely to have happened in the workplace.  If you or someone you know has ever worked for any of these occupations and have mesothelioma, asbestosis, pleural plaque or lung cancer you may have been exposed. Although this not not exhaustive, it covers many of the likely sources of asbestos exposure:

  • aircraft mechanics
  • asbestos plant workers
  • automobile mechanics
  • blacksmiths
  • boilermakers
  • brick masons
  • carpenters
  • car shop employees
  • chemical technicians
  • civil engineers
  • clothing ironers and pressers
  • crane, derrick and hoist men
  • dentists
  • draftsmen
  • drywall tapers
  • electric power
  • linemen & cable men
  • electrical engineers
  • electricians
  • engineers
  • excavating machine operators
  • filers, polishers, buffers
  • foremen
  • freight and material handlers
  • furnace men, smelter-men and pourers
  • garage workers
  • gas station attendants
  • grinding machine operatives
  • heavy equipment mechanics
  • household appliance Installers and mechanics
  • household residents
  • industrial engineer
  • industrial plant workers
  • insulators
  • insurance adjusters
  • iron workers
  • job & die setters
  • laborers
  • locomotive engineers
  • longshoremen & stevedores
  • loom fixers
  • machine operatives
  • machinists
  • maintenance workers
  • mechanical engineer
  • mechanics and repairmen of aircraft
  • merchant marines
  • metal lathers
  • millwrights
  • mixing operatives
  • molders
  • logging camp workers
  • officers, pilots, and pursers; ship
  • oil refinery workers
  • operating engineers
  • painters, construction and maintenance
  • painters and sculptors
  • pattern and model makers, excluding paper
  • personnel and labor relations workers
  • pipefitters
  • plasterers
  • plumbers
  • power plant workers
  • railroad workers
  • road machine operators
  • rollers and finishers
  • roofers and slaters
  • sailors and deckhands
  • sales engineer
  • sheet metal workers
  • shipbuilders
  • shipfitters
  • ship scrappers
  • shipyard workers
  • stationary engineers
  • steamfitters
  • steelworkers
  • stonemasons
  • structural metal craftsmen
  • technicians
  • telephone installers and repairmen
  • textile operatives
  • tile setters
  • tinsmiths
  • tool and die makers
  • U.S. Navy veterans
  • welders and flame-cutters

What is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a deadly form of cancer of the membrane that lines the abdominal cavity and internal organs. There is no cure, and the only known cause is exposure to asbestos.

It can go undiagnosed for decades. Workers exposed to airborne asbestos fibers before the dangers were well-publicized and better regulated are still being diagnosed today.

What is Asbestosis?

Asbestosis is a chronic inflammatory and fibrotic medical condition affecting the parenchymal tissue of the lungs caused by the inhalation and retention of asbestos fibers. It usually occurs after high intensity and/or long-term exposure to asbestos (particularly in those individuals working on the production or end-use of products containing asbestos) and is therefore regarded as an occupational lung disease. People with extensive occupational exposure to the mining, manufacturing, handling or removal of asbestos are at risk of developing asbestosis.

Lung Cancer and Asbestos

Asbestos is estimated to account for 3,400 to 8,500 new lung cancer cases in the United States each year.

Like mesothelioma, the latency period between asbestos exposure and the development of asbestos-related lung cancer may be two, three, four, or even more decades. Very often, asbestos-related cancer victims also suffer from asbestosis, a scarring of the lung tissue caused by asbestos exposure. About one in seven people with asbestosis will eventually develop lung cancer.

What is Pleural Plaque?

One of the effects of asbestos exposure is the formation of pleural plaques.  Pleural plaques are bilateral areas of fibrosis present on the inner surface of the ribcage and the diaphragm that are often partly calcified. Pleural plaques, by themselves, are benign and cannot change into cancer.

About one-third to half of those exposed to asbestos will likely develop calcified pleural plaques, though not all asbestos-exposed workers develop pleural plaques.

How did this happen to me?

When asbestos is mined, or when certain asbestos materials are processed, asbestos is released into the air in dust-sized particles. Asbestos fibers can be airborne in a processing plant, in the environment nearby, or even in workers’ homes once they accidentally carry them there on their clothes. When the fibers are inhaled, they lodge in the lungs and nearby membranes and the body cannot get rid of them.

What are the signs and symptoms?

Mesothelioma, Asbestosis or Lung Cancer can develop for years without showing any signs. Sometimes it is discovered earlier when a chest X-ray is taken for unrelated reasons. If it progresses far enough for symptoms before it is discovered, those symptoms can include:

  • Abdominal Pain
  • Chest Pain
  • Difficulty Swallowing
  • Fluid in the Lining of the Lungs
  • Lower Back Pain
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Persistent Coughing
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Weakness

If you believe you or someone you know has been injured due to asbestos exposure please contact Slater Slater Schulman LLP at 1-877-771-MESO or fill out our online form and an attorney will contact you immediately.

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