Because of its resistance to corrosion, heat, and electricity, the naturally occurring mineral asbestos was a popular additive to various products in the 20th century. Unfortunately, even though asbestos boasts of such qualities, this substance poses a threat to people’s lives. When inhaled, asbestos fibers can get stuck in a person’s body. Over time, trapped asbestos fibers can cause scarring, inflammation, and eventually asbestos-related illnesses like mesothelioma, a rare, aggressive, and fatal cancer. Usually, after asbestos exposure, it can take up to 60 years for someone to realize they have mesothelioma. Unfortunately, because of mesothelioma’s long latency period, sometimes people realize they are sick when it is too late. Nevertheless, it is vital to note that not everyone who falls victim to asbestos exposure develops mesothelioma.
As much as not every individual who falls victim to asbestos exposure develops mesothelioma, it is vital to take caution. Being cautious is especially important, considering the life expectancy of a mesothelioma patient ranges from 12 to slightly over 20 months. Even though asbestos is no longer commonly used, it still lingers in workplaces and homes. In the 20th century, the cancer-causing substance was used in thousands of products, and many asbestos-contaminated materials can still be found in offices, homes, and factories across America. Therefore, to avoid asbestos exposure, people must educate themselves about the possible hiding places of asbestos. At work, workers may encounter asbestos in settings such as;
- power plants
- chemical plants
- fire scenes
- textile mills
- mechanic shops
- construction sites
At home and work, people may encounter asbestos in things such as;
- electrical appliances
- children’s toys
- attic insulation
Preventing Asbestos Exposure in the Workplace
OSHA has put in place regulations aimed at protecting workers from asbestos exposure. Some of those regulations include the requirement for employers to perform air monitoring and keep records and provide asbestos awareness training. Nonetheless, despite having OSHA regulations in place, workers can and should take some steps to help prevent asbestos exposure and asbestos-related illnesses like mesothelioma. Some of the steps workers can take include the following:
- asking employers about any asbestos health risks in the workplace
- never cutting, drilling, scraping, or disturbing asbestos-containing materials without wearing protective gear
- never taking home shoes or work clothes that may be asbestos-contaminated
- always disposing of asbestos-containing materials according to state and federal regulations
Also, workers should avoid carrying out asbestos work for their employers if they are not trained and certified.
Preventing Asbestos Exposure at Home
Some of the steps individuals can take to protect themselves and their families from asbestos exposure in their homes include the following:
- asking home inspectors or real estate agents about the risk of asbestos in their homes
- avoiding carrying out DIY renovation on older homes without first checking for asbestos
- avoiding disturbing asbestos after discovering it at home
- regularly checking for signs of wear on known asbestos products such as old hairdryers and toasters
If, after all your efforts to keep safe, you still end up getting exposed to asbestos and developing asbestos-related illnesses because of another party’s negligence, remember that you are not alone. Legal help is available.
Nationwide Mesothelioma Lawyers
If you or a loved one was diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced nationwide mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties.