Mesothelioma and the Health Risks of Asbestos

Although asbestos has been in use for a variety of purposes since the days of ancient Greece, it is now known to possess serious health risks. Widely utilized in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as a fireproof insulation, asbestos has become associated with causing the deadly lung cancer mesothelioma, in addition to a number of other serious lung conditions.

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. This is because the disease is slow to manifest, which challenges doctors struggling to diagnose and treat mesothelioma patients in time. As a result of mesothelioma’s tendency to often align its symptoms with those of other diseases, in addition to the fact that full blown symptoms can take quite long to manifest, the disease is often misdiagnosed as pneumonia or other lung diseases in its early stages in some workers.

Mesothelioma Symptoms

Symptoms of mesothelioma can include:

A shortness of breath, abdominal swelling, pain of the abdomen, blood clotting problems, chest pain, chronic cough, heart palpitations, fever, labored breath, and weight loss.

Pleural, peritoneal and pericardial mesothelioma are all possible variations of the deadly cancer, with pleural (lung) mesothelioma the most commonly manifested version of the disease.

High-Risk Professions

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. Any profession that involved repeated exposure to asbestos in its industrial forms put its workers at a high risk for toxic asbestos exposure and mesothelioma.

These professions include:

Painters, carpenters, construction workers, mechanics, insulators, electricians and other building workers, especially any who participated in home or commercial construction before the 1970s.

Family members of these workers can also be at risk, as they could have inhaled or ingested asbestos that was brought into the home on a worker’s clothing or hair.

Legal Options

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. If you are suffering the ill effects of asbestos exposure, talk to your doctor and determine a reasonable treatment plan. Therefore get in touch with an asbestos lawyer who has significant experience 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.