What You Need to Know About Asbestos Exposure
Asbestos is a natural mineral found in the ground that has been mined by humans for centuries. As humanity advanced, we found new ways to use asbestos. Studies revealed it would be a great material to use in buildings and products like textiles and car parts due to its heat-resistant nature.
It wasn’t until later that we realized prolonged asbestos exposure caused several severe illnesses. The dust created by asbestos can be inhaled. In most cases, the body can get rid of toxins that enter the lungs. Asbestos is more durable and contains many fibers that make it resistant to being expelled.
If you or a loved one has developed a life-threatening disease due to asbestos exposure, you may be entitled to receive compensation. Phillips Law Group is one of Arizona’s largest consumer law groups. We offer compassionate care to clients in need of legal services.
You worked hard your whole life. The last thing you deserve is a mesothelioma diagnosis. We will work just as hard to help you get the money you deserve. Call Phillips Law Group today at (800) 706-3000. You can also send a message to our live agent available on our website 24/7 for a free consultation.
Where is Asbestos Commonly Used?
There are several industries where asbestos is a commonly used ingredient in production. Workers in these industries are regularly exposed to large amounts of this mineral.
These occupations include:
- Paper mills
- Heating and cooling
These jobs can be dangerous because asbestos can be found in many of the products used in the industry. These products include:
- Car brakes
- Vinyl tiles
- Heat-resistant fabrics
- Blankets to protect pipes from freezing
- Electrical components
- Cigarette filters
A one-time run-in with asbestos likely will not cause any problems. It is regular, prolonged exposure that causes the most harm. Workers who spend several hours per day around asbestos, breathing in its fibers daily, are at the most risk. This is considered to be a serious occupational hazard.
However, workers can also have asbestos fibers stuck to their clothing and bring the risks home to the family. This type of exposure is called para-occupational. Neighborhood exposure is when people live and work near a factory that contains asbestos.
What Causes Asbestos Exposure?
Asbestos fibers are lightweight and can be disturbed easily. When these microscopic particles get into the air, they can float around for hours. Any person who enters an area where asbestos is contaminating is at risk of ingesting or inhaling these fine, dust-like particles. It can take up to 72 hours for these fibers to finally settle as long as there is no disruption.
The most vulnerable to asbestos exposure are professionals that use this substance in their daily lives. This can include skilled trades and factory workers. Most exposure happens in the workplace. US Veterans are also considered to be at high risk due to the military’s use of asbestos products. Navy ships were particularly dangerous before it was banned in the 1980s.
Another group susceptible to asbestos exposure is home renovation and commercial workers. Many old homes and businesses were originally built using asbestos in a variety of materials. As these older homes begin to break down and are disturbed by any kind of work, asbestos fibers are released into the air. Environmental exposure is not common, but it can still happen.
According to the Mayo Clinic, it can take 20 to 40 years before asbestos symptoms appear. Between 70 percent and 80 percent of all mesothelioma patients were directly exposed, most of whom on the job. As many as 30 percent of all mesothelioma lawsuits have been filed by Navy vets and dockyard workers. Most people will inhale some amount of asbestos in their lifetime, but small amounts are not known to cause health problems.
Asbestos Health Risks
Compare asbestos fibers to fine dust particles. The difference is that you can see dust when it is in the air or accumulates on your furniture. Asbestos fibers, though, are microscopic and can hang in the air for a long time. When these fibers are swallowed or inhaled, they can get stuck for years or even permanently. After years of exposure, asbestos is known to cause several life-threatening conditions. Mesothelioma is among the most well-known.
After decades of asbestos accumulation in the body, it can cause inflammation and damage to DNA cells. These changes in cellular structure are often what turn into cancerous tissues. Smoking has the same impact on a person’s body, which is why smoking can accelerate the process, increasing the risk of developing severe illness down the road.
Types of cancer caused by asbestos
Mesothelioma is the main type of cancer known to be caused by asbestos exposure. It is a condition that can form in the lining of the abdomen or lungs.
Since asbestos can attach to different organs and be spread throughout the body, other types of cancer can also form, including:
- Lung cancer
- Ovarian cancer, and;
- Laryngeal cancer
Types of non-cancerous diseases caused by asbestos
While cancer is a dangerous threat of prolonged asbestos exposure, other diseases can develop as well. Most of these conditions involve scarring and/or the thickening of tissue around the lungs.
Non-cancerous diseases caused by asbestos include:
- Pleural effusion
- Pleural plaques
- Diffuse pleural thickening
Rights of Employees to Be Protected From Asbestos
As an employee, you have the right to be protected from asbestos exposure. OSHA and other government agencies have attempted to monitor potential exposure to ensure workers are safe from harm. If you suspect that you are working in an unsafe environment, it is important to report the danger.
Your employer is required by law to take whatever steps are necessary to protect you from asbestos risks. Do not hesitate to file an OSHA complaint against your employer if action is not taken.
Asbestos protection can include:
- Well-ventilated workstations
- Protective clothing
- Regular medical examinations
- Frequent monitoring of asbestos levels
- Proper training
- Instructions and warning signs
Compensation for Asbestos-Related Illnesses
Frequent exposure to asbestos can lead to several life-threatening illnesses and diseases. If you became sick after working in an industry where asbestos was commonly used, you may be entitled to receive compensation. The impact of asbestos contamination may be permanent and lead to death, which entitles you and your family to economic and non-economic damages.
The compensation you may be able to receive include:
- All current and future medical expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
- Lost wages
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
Phillips Law Group is committed to fighting for the rights of asbestos victims who are now seeking compensation. The legal process can be difficult and require evidence to prove your case, but that’s why you should leave things to us while you focus on recovery.
We are among the largest consumer law firms in Arizona with a proven track record. Over the past 26 years, we have helped our clients win over $750 million in damages. When we take on your case, our team of experienced attorneys will not stop fighting for you until justice is served.
Call Phillips Law Group today at (800) 706-3000. We are available 24/7 for a free consultation at your convenience.
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