Asbestos was extensively used in a wide variety of products until the 1980s. The material was popular because it was inexpensive and provided numerous benefits such as its strength and resistance to heat. Asbestos, however, is dangerous under certain circumstances. Due to the nature of asbestos, health issues may not become apparent for many years.
Danger in the Air
Asbestos containing materials are dangerous when the product is disturbed. This causes microscopic fibers to be released into the air. Asbestos is also considered dangerous when it is friable, which means that it can be easily crumbled with little pressure. Friable asbestos is more susceptible to having its fibers released into the air. Sprayed-on asbestos insulation is considered highly friable, whereas asbestos floor tile is not.
If the fibers enter the lungs (or the digestive tract if asbestos is ingested), serious health issues often develop over time. This is because it is difficult for the body’s immune system to destroy the fibers; they do not readily dissolve or breakdown. The body is unable to remove them once they enter the lungs or body tissues. As a result, they remain in those areas of the body and often lead to the development of disease.
There are three primary diseases that exposure to asbestos fibers causes:
- Lung cancer
Asbestosis is a non-cancerous, respiratory disease that currently has no effective treatment, which usually means it is fatal. Individuals that develop asbestosis are generally workers who deal with asbestos or asbestos-containing products on a daily basis. It is not, for example, caused as a result of exposure because of the neighborhood a person lived in or living with a person who worked with asbestos.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of death related to exposure to asbestos. Individuals who mined, milled, manufactured, or used asbestos containing materials have a higher rate of incidence of lung cancer than the general population.
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that is directly linked to asbestos exposure. Mesothelioma is often referred to as the “signature disease” of asbestos exposure. The individuals at risk of developing this disease include workers exposed to asbestos containing products, but also people who lived with those workers and people who resided near mines, factories, or shipyards that were involved with asbestos.
Compassionate Legal Advocacy
Due to its strength and resistance to heat, asbestos was used in thousands of products for much of the twentieth century. Unfortunately, this widespread use caused many people to be exposed to dangerous fibers. If you have been diagnosed with a disease that you believe was caused by exposure to asbestos, contact an experienced attorney today. At the Throneberry Law Group, we understand the serious nature of asbestos-related diseases and will work diligently for you.