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Individuals who were exposed to asbestos either at work or by second-hand exposure often have many questions about whether they may be at risk for developing mesothelioma, a deadly and incurable lung disease linked to asbestos. While the dangers of asbestos have been known for many decades, the signs and symptoms of mesothelioma can take an equally long time to manifest themselves, which can make the disease difficult to understand.

Mesothelioma is an aggressive and deadly form of cancer that affects a thin line of tissue surrounding the body’s internal organs, most often the lungs and abdomen. Although the overwhelming majority of people exposed to asbestos will not develop mesothelioma, about 2,000 to 3,000 are diagnosed every year with the aggressive cancer.

While each case is different, most individuals exposed to asbestos that eventually develop mesothelioma will not do so for anywhere from 20 to 50 years. During that time, other health conditions with similar symptoms can mask the signs of mesothelioma caused by exposure to asbestos and delay diagnosis and treatment.

A Tennessee county recently settled a mesothelioma-asbestos exposure lawsuit with the widow of a former school teacher who allegedly contracted the deadly lung disease while working for the county decades ago. The lawsuit had been slated to go to a trial by jury just a few days before the settlement but the recent discovery of asbestos on school grounds may have prompted county officials to reconsider resolving the issue.

The victim worked for a pair of Knox County schools, South-Doyle High School and Fulton High School, from the 60’s until the late 90’s, before he developed mesothelioma and passed away from his condition in 2011. During his time at the two institutions, the plaintiff recalled seeing what he later knew to be asbestos falling from the ceilings of his classrooms and other buildings.

While the exact number of the settlement is unclear, the compensation is expected to be no more than $300,000, as the state’s government liability to tort claims is limited to this number under the law. The county is expected to spend another $250,000 on asbestos removal to ensure no one at the school is put at risk of developing asbestos-related conditions like mesothelioma.

Due to its causal link to mesothelioma, a rare and deadly cancer, industrial use and removal of asbestos is now highly regulated by state and federal organizations to prevent workers from being exposed to the substance. However, there are still many ways for ordinary people to be exposed to asbestos and contract serious health conditions that they might not be aware of.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that is extracted from the earth and processed for use in industrial products. For many decades, asbestos was used in all sorts of industrial applications including automotive parts, insulation in buildings, naval vessels, and other situations requiring the heat resistant qualities of the product.

One of the most common ways for individuals to be exposed to asbestos, and possibly contract mesothelioma, is having a family member working with the product come home wearing clothing covered in the mineral. By nature, asbestos is a fibrous material which makes it prone to becoming airborne and entering the respiratory system of nearby people, unaware they are breathing in a deadly substance.

Since the 1970s, the federal government has recognized the dangers asbestos poses to the health and safety of those who come in contact with it. To that end, the government empowered the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to investigate asbestos contaminated sites across the country and force responsible parties to take accountability in the clean up effort.

On December 11, 1980, Congress enacted the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), informally known as Superfund. The law works by putting a tax on chemical and gas companies as well as giving the EPA the authority to respond to environmental disasters.

To keep track of contaminated sites, the EPA created a National Priorities List (NPL) which includes areas like mines, factories, shipyards, and other industrial sites where asbestos has been detected. Over the years, the EPA has initiated numerous asbestos clean up efforts, putting the financial burden on the shoulders of the asbestos producers and product users.

By now most of us are familiar with the lawsuits and settlements associated with mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. As victims of asbestos exposure finally get the justice and compensation they deserve, even more are left out to fight on their own as the defendants in these cases continue to deny liability for their dangerous products.

Even in the face of overwhelming evidence that an individual exposed to asbestos in his or her everyday life developed the rare, deadly lung disease mesothelioma, manufacturers of the products in question refuse to compensate victims appropriately. More often than not, plaintiffs turn to experienced mesothelioma attorneys to aid them in their time of need.

What Can a Mesothelioma Lawyer Do for Me?

A man from Belleville, Illinois recently filed an asbestos mesothelioma lawsuit against Abbott labs, claiming his years of exposure to the toxic insulation was the proximate cause of his life-threatening cancer. The suit, filed in St. Clair County Circuit Court claims Abbott Laboratories and dozens of other companies were negligent in their failure exercise reasonable care to ensure the safety of their workers.

The plaintiff claims he contracted mesothelioma by breathing in asbestos fibers while working at Abbott Laboratories in Northern Illinois. Apart from his former employer, the plaintiff accuses Alcatel Lucent USA Inc. and many others of negligently manufacturing, selling, distributing and installing products containing asbestos fibers.

The asbestos mesothelioma cancer lawsuit asks for $50,000 from each defendant as compensation for his injuries. Additionally, the claims asks to recoup legal fees associated with filing the case and litigating the lawsuit. Depending on how many defendants are held liable for damages, the claim could potentially be worth a substantial amount of compensation.

A U.S. District Court judge recently sentenced a Rochester, New York property developer to probation, community service, and a fine for violations of the federal Clean Air Act. Additionally, the defendant was ordered to pay restitution to the victims harmed by his reckless disregard for public safety by exposing employees to asbestos.

The industrial property where the asbestos exposure took place was adjacent to a residential neighborhood with a school bus stop. The defendant was sentenced to two-year probation, 150-hours of community service, and a $15,000 fine.

Authorities Raid Asbestos-Contaminated Warehouse

A jury in Savannah, Georgia recently awarded $2 million to the wife of a man who died of mesothelioma caused by asbestos exposure. The victim spent years working in a pulp paper mill in Alabama, where the plaintiff’s attorney alleged he was exposed to asbestos contaminated asbestos gaskets and packing material manufactured by John Crane.

During trial, the plaintiff’s lawyer explained to jurors that the defendant had been sued multiple times for asbestos-related injuries but never tested its products to determine if they were safe. Instead, the defendant allegedly relied on junk science produced by a consulting firm and paid millions of dollars for the information.

Attorneys for the defense argued the plaintiff had not been exposed to asbestos in any of its products and further argued even if that had been the case the amount of asbestos exposure would have been too small to cause mesothelioma. Only one witness was called by defense during the 10-day trial while the plaintiff called multiple expert witnesses to testify as to the plaintiffs asbestos exposure.

An Oregon jury recently awarded a Beaverton man and his wife $8.75 million dollars in a mesothelioma asbestos lawsuit filed against drywall maker, Kaiser Gypsum. Jurors agreed the plaintiff’s mesothelioma was more likely than not caused by his repeated exposure to the asbestos-laced spackle product at his job and that the defendant knew for a decade about the risks the product could pose.

The award is one of the largest asbestos verdicts in Oregon. The Portland jury awarded the plaintiff $750,000 for medical expenses, $4 million to himself for pain and suffering, and an additional $4 million to his wife. Doctors estimate the plaintiff has less than two years left to live. The judge in the case estimated the plaintiff could have lived for almost two-decades longer under the state’s life table.

The plaintiff is a father of three and grandfather to several grandchildren. He had just retired when doctors diagnosed him with the deadly cancer of the lining of the lungs. The plaintiff claims he contracted mesothelioma due to repeated exposure to asbestos while working as a carpenter in his early 20s. The asbestos flakes were contained inside gypsum board applied by drywall workers who would then sand down the product to create a uniform finish.

Missouri jurors in two talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuits recently handed down a pair of monumental awards for plaintiffs totaling $137 million between the two. This could spell bad news for the defendant, Johnson & Johnson, as there are an additional 1,200 more talcum powder lawsuits working their way through the courts.

While attorneys for the plaintiffs successfully demonstrated to the jurors the J&J talcum powder products were more than likely responsible for their plaintiff’s ovarian cancer, questions still remain as to what exactly the relationship is between use of talc and developing cancer. To help answer that, one has to examine where talcum powder comes from and whether it may contain any known carcinogens like asbestos.

What is Talcum Powder?

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