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How Asbestos Particles Spread

Toxic Cloud Blankets SoCal City

A fire at a World War II-era hangar released a cloud of smoke over Tustin that was laced with asbestos, arsenic, and other harmful particles.

The city of Tustin declared a local state of emergency, and the Orange County Board of Supervisors declared a county-wide state of emergency due to the fire. And neighboring cities such as Santa Ana and Orange conveyed the health warnings to their residents, who still were seeing ash carried their way by the west-blowing winds.

“We are deeply concerned about the environmental impact of this fire and about the release of pollutants in Tustin and the surrounding areas that could impact our constituents’ health,” Reps. Lou Correa, Young Kim, Katie Porter, Linda Sanchez, Mike Levin, and Michelle Steel said in a joint letter to Navy officials Thursday.

In response, Navy officials said they were working with local officials on evaluating any health risks from the materials used to construct the hangar and preserve and make the wood fire-resistant, including asbestos-cement board and lead-based paint in places.

How Asbestos Particles Spread

200,000 microscopic asbestos fibers can fit on a U.S. penny. Since these fibers are only slightly heavier than air, they usually spread after a natural disaster, through primary exposure, and through secondary exposure.

A fire is a good example of a natural disaster. The resulting smoke carries asbestos fibers far away from their sources. Additionally, once they leave the cloud of smoke, they usually continue traveling through the air.

Floods have a similar effect. They carry asbestos particles for miles. Usually, these fibers find their way into drinking water. Many people know the dangers of breathing asbestos. Drinking it or bathing with it is equally dangerous.

These illness cases are very complex for an asbestos-exposure lawyer. Since the fibers could come from literally anywhere, it is difficult to pinpoint a source.

Most asbestos exposure victims are primary exposure victims. They came into contact with asbestos at work or during military service. Before 1980, asbestos was, by far, the most widely used building insulator. This mineral does not conduct electricity or heat. Therefore, builders used it in:

  • Attic insulation,
  • Electrical wire insulation,
  • Pipe wrapping.
  • Roof shingles, and
  • Ceiling tiles.

Furthermore, many people handled asbestos-laced products. Brake pads might be the best example. To reduce the risk of fire and handle extreme friction, brake pads were basically asbestos pads.

Secondary asbestos exposure victims usually include household and indirect work exposure victims.

Usually, because their employers downplayed the risk of asbestos exposure, many workers did not properly protect themselves on the job. So, they carried tiny fibers home in their hair, on their skin, on their clothes, or in their cars. Family members, who were not protected at all, then inhaled these fibers.

Lackadaisical workers infect other workers as well. If Ben left an asbestos mine to pick up his check at the front office, he carried asbestos fibers with him.

Depending on the type of exposure, these victims usually have multiple legal options. All these alternatives have pros and cons, which an asbestos exposure lawyer must discuss with a victim or a victim’s family.

Asbestos Health Effects

Toxic particles alter cell chemistry. Exposed cells multiply too quickly, soak up too many nutrients, and could be malignant. Pleural mesothelioma, the most common asbestos-exposure cancer, has a low survival rate as well.

Other asbestos exposure-related illnesses include pleural thickening and asbestosis. Asbestos fibers could inflame the lung’s pleural lining. The resulting pressure makes it harder for the lung to expand. Asbestosis is a direct lung injury. Asbestos fibers burn airways, clogging them with scar tissue.

Asbestos could have indirect health effects as well. Asbestos-laced talcum powder is probably the best example. Poor quality control practices meant that asbestos fibers commingled with talc fibers. So, prolonged talcum powder use could cause ovarian cancer or other serious illness.

Count on a Hard-Hitting Attorney

Asbestos fibers poison the air we breathe in many ways. For a free consultation with an experienced nationwide mesothelioma lawyer, contact the Throneberry Law Group. The sooner you reach out to us, the sooner we start working for you.

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