Asbestos has been used since the times of the Ancient Greeks, but its dangers are a modern-day issue. Asbestos was used often in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries because of its high tolerance to heat and its usefulness in fireproof insulation. However, recently it has been exposed that when inhaled, asbestos causes deadly lung conditions such as mesothelioma.
Occupational Exposure and Dangers To Workers
After noticing that chronic diseases, especially cancers of the lung such as mesothelioma, were extremely common in construction workers who were exposed to asbestos, doctors began making a connection between asbestos and mesothelioma. Unfortunately, construction and other workers who were exposed to asbestos from the 1950s through the 1970s, when the dangers of asbestos were more fully recognized, are still suffering from the ill effects of asbestos exposure at work. There are now laws and regulations in place that are designed to prevent workers from exposure to toxic asbestos; however, these laws cannot undo years upon years of exposure to this deadly mineral in the workplace.
Delayed Diagnosis Due To Long Dormancy Period
Workers may have been exposed to asbestos in the 1970s, but may only just now be developing the tell-tale symptoms of mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is slow to appear which causes doctors to have a hard time diagnosing and treating patients with the disease in time. Because symptoms of mesothelioma don’t show up for many years after exposure and are similar to symptoms for other diseases, workers with mesothelioma might be misdiagnosed during the early stages of the disease.
Symptoms of mesothelioma include:
* shortness of breath;
* abdominal swelling;
* pain of the abdomen;
* blood clotting problems;
* chest pain;
* chronic cough;
* heart palpitations;
* labored breath;
* weight loss.
Pericardial, pleural, and peritoneal mesothelioma are the three different types of mesothelioma where pleural (lung) mesothelioma being the most commonly found form of the disease.
Though the use of asbestos is now regulated by laws and regulations, the disease’s long dormancy period means that it still has a high number of potential victims. Some professions are at a higher risk than others for asbestos exposure and the subsequent contraction of mesothelioma and these involve continuous exposure to asbestos in its industrial form. These professions include:
* construction workers;
* other tradespeople, in particulal, people who worked in home or commercial construction prior to the 1970s.
Other people at risk for getting mesothelioma are the families of people who worked with asbestos because the dust may have settled in the employee’s hair or clothing.
Because of the huge number of potentially affected workers, there has been a significant amount of litigation against companies who irresponsibly used asbestos, exposing their workers to the threat of mesothelioma and other life-threatening asbestos-related illnesses. It is essential to consult your doctor to discuss a treatment plan if you are suffering from exposure to asbestos. Then contact an asbestos attorney who is experienced in mesothelioma litigation. A competent asbestos lawyer may be able to help you recover damages for the pain and suffering incurred through asbestos exposure and mesothelioma, defray the costs of treatment, and provide for your children if you die of the disease.