Finding Where Asbestos Lurks
03/23/2011 // Chicago, IL, USA // Mesothelioma Lawyers – Cooney & Conway // Cooney & Conway
No doubt, there is a lot that is known—and has been done—about the dangers of asbestos.
Scientists and doctors know that exposure to the material, long used in the construction, shipbuilding and other industries because of its resistance to fire and heat, can cause lung cancer and mesothelioma, a particularly aggressive type of cancer for which there is no cure. Regulators have set strict standards on how asbestos must be used and handled. Mesothelioma lawyers have obtained substantial verdicts and settlements for victims of asbestos exposure—and their devastated families.
But one simple—and troubling—fact remains: asbestos has not disappeared. Indeed, even with all we know about its dangers, the cancer-causing material can still be found in many homes and buildings. Even schools have discovered asbestos on-site, which is particularly worrisome since it puts children at risk for mesothelioma and other deadly diseases. It may take decades to develop, but mesothelioma has proven a ruthlessly efficient killer, often striking those who have had only limited, short-term asbestos exposure.
So where, exactly, can asbestos be found? On its website (www.epa.gov), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency notes the most common places where asbestos often lurks. These include:
• Insulation materials (particularly in homes built between 1930 and 1950).
• Hot water and steam pipes, as well as boilers and furnace ducts that have been insulated with an asbestos blanket or asbestos paper tape.
• Various types of floor tiles (typically vinyl floor tiles).
• Cement sheet, mill-board and paper used as insulation around furnaces and wood-burning stoves.
• Soundproofing or decorative material that has been sprayed on walls and ceilings.
• Patching and joint compounds for walls and ceilings, as well as some textured paints (while this use of asbestos was banned in 1977, older homes often still contain these
• Roofing, shingle and siding materials (some of which may have been made with asbestos cement).
• Artificial ashes and embers for use in gas-fired fireplaces.
• Older household products including fireproof gloves, stove-top pads, ironing board covers and even certain makes of hair dryers.
• Automotive brake pads and linings.
Keep in mind, however, that dealing with asbestos is not as simple as discovering where it exists. Removing asbestos materials requires special care—and a professional who is well trained and equipped for the task—improper handling can release asbestos fibers into the air. When this happens, the dangers are at their greatest, because asbestos fibers can easily be inhaled into the lungs, where they lodge. There, they can potentially trigger diseases like mesothelioma years later.
Such an outcome is invariably catastrophic. While mesothelioma lawyers have been able to obtain financial compensation through asbestos lawsuits, a cure for the disease—and the devastation it causes—still eludes researchers.
Hopefully, scientists will ultimately find a cure for mesothelioma. But until that day comes, the best protection is knowledge—and prevention.
*This mesothelioma backgrounder was brought to you by the mesothelioma lawyers at Cooney & Conway. For more than half a century, we have been advocates for those injured because of the wrongful actions of others. We have litigated and resolved some of the nation’s most significant asbestos lawsuits, bringing justice—and compensation—to victims of asbestos exposure and the lung cancer, mesothelioma, and other deadly diseases it can cause.
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