Asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral that was once commonly used in the manufacturing of thousands of products due to its durability and resistance to heat and fire. Asbestos was widely used throughout the 20th Century because it was considered strong, flexible and easy to use. Despite being harmless in its natural state, asbestos poses serious health threats. When asbestos is broken down, the fibers become airborne and can be easily inhaled and lodged in the lining of the lungs. As the fibers accumulate in the lungs over time, they can cause severe irritation, resulting in fatal illnesses like mesothelioma or cancer.
Thousands of products have been manufactured with asbestos, including building and construction materials, auto parts, heat resistant fabrics, fireproofing sprays and coatings, and gaskets and hot water heating supply lines.
Symptoms of Asbestos-Related Diseases
Mesothelioma is a fatal disease. In most all cases, mesothelioma is the result of exposure to asbestos. Pleural mesothelioma is the most common form of the disease, attacking the lungs. Asbestiosis occurs when lung tissue is scarred as a result of the inhalation of asbestos fibers. While pleural mesothelioma can follow asbestosis, mesothelioma often occurs alone. There are other forms as well of mesothelioma, which attack the lining of the abdomen.
Asbestos-related symptoms typically occur 20 or 30 years after asbestos exposure, sometimes taking up to 50 years to develop. Symptoms usually appear as breathing problems or digestive problems. Symptoms include the following:
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty swallowing
- Persistent nausea or vomiting
- Chest pain
- Heart palpitations
- Fever or fatigue
- Weight loss
- Abdominal pain, swelling and bowel problems
People at Risk
Anyone who is or who has been exposed to asbestos may be at risk of developing an asbestos illness. Those exposed to asbestos for long periods of time or individuals required to handle or work with asbestos are at the greatest risk. High risk occupations that involve the direct handling of asbestos and significant environmental contact are at a high risk. These occupations include:
- Steel mill workers
- Electrical workers
- Navy veterans
- Demolition removers
- Drywall removers
- Auto mechanics
Today, government asbestos regulations are in place, requiring people who work in high risk occupations to wear protective clothing and respiratory equipment when handling asbestos.
How We Can Help
If you or a loved one have been affected by asbestos exposure or have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis or another type of asbestos-related illness, we may be able to help you recover compensation for injuries and loss. An asbestos attorney may be able to help you recover financial losses resulting from medical treatments and lost wages, as well as compensation for pain and suffering. To find out if you qualify for an asbestos lawsuit, contact Principal Law Group today.