Exposure to asbestos can be deadly for individuals. When inhaled, especially on a regular basis, asbestos fibers can accumulate in the lungs, abdomen, chest cavity, and other areas of the body leading to scarring of tissue and vital organs, and other serious conditions. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral, however, it is highly toxic, and can cause terminal diseases such as mesothelioma, asbestosis, respiratory failure, and other issues. These often result from long-term exposure, and symptoms typically do not surface for decades. However, after symptoms do appear, it may take only a short period of time for a person’s condition to become fatal.
Many individuals became exposed to asbestos during the 1950s through the 1980s before regulations were put into place that banned asbestos use. A large percentage of these individuals were men who worked in factories, on construction sites, and other high risk areas. Others included family members who ingested the fibers through contact with the workers’ clothes, hair, or skin. Asbestos was widely used because of its low cost and ability to resist certain types of damage. Due to a lack of awareness about hazardous asbestos exposure, many of those exposed did not question the dangers of their working conditions at the time. However, despite the lack of common knowledge among workers, many employers were aware that the conditions they placed workers in were unhealthy and could lead to long-term problems. Some companies are stated to have had knowledge of the effects of asbestos exposure as early as 1920, but chose to use the mineral anyway.
Millions of individuals are believed to have been exposed to asbestos, and the number of confirmed related illnesses has dramatically increased over the past few years. Those who have been exposed to asbestos and subsequently developed mesothelioma or another related illness may be entitled to compensation under the law. Patients should consider consulting with qualified legal counsel after receiving the proper diagnosis to discuss their claim.