Asbestos is a natural fiber that has been used extensively in myriad industries over the last century. It is a material that has been prized for its heat- and flame-resistance, soundproofing abilities, and insulating properties. Unfortunately, exposure to asbestos also poses significant threats to human health. Asbestos exposure can lead to serious diseases including asbestosis, lung cancer, mesothelioma cancer, and other life threatening diseases. Those who have developed these conditions due to asbestos exposure on the job, in the course of military duty, or in other cases of negligent exposure often have the legal right to seek compensation for their losses and suffering. If you suspect that you or a loved one may have been exposed to asbestos, read on to learn more about asbestos cancer.

Who is at risk for asbestos exposure?

To determine who is at risk of exposure to asbestos, it is important to first ask the question “What is asbestos exposure?” Asbestos exposure means that one is exposed to asbestos that is airborne, generally at one’s place of employment. In addition, the person inhales or ingests the asbestos, typically due to a lack of proper protective equipment. Since a variety of industries and businesses have used asbestos in their operations, people from diverse occupations are at risk of asbestos inhalation. According to recent data, those at the greatest risk include construction workers, electricians, metalworkers, shipyard employees, maintenance workers, automotive workers, professionals in the oil and power generation industries, miners, and those in other industrial or factory occupations where asbestos have been produced, used, or otherwise handled. Dedicated military members are also at risk of asbestos exposure.

Asbestos exposure during military service

As noted, people serving in the military are also commonly exposed to asbestos. Their contact, in some cases, may have been brief yet severe in nature. As a result individuals serving in the armed forces may suffer from either chronic or acute asbestos exposure. Some of the areas where military personnel may have been subjected to asbestos are listed below.

When it comes to exposed workers, their family members are often at risk, as well. This is true because workers can unknowingly bring asbestos fibers home on their person, clothing, or equipment. When loved ones inhale or ingest the fibers and subsequently develop illness, it is a case of secondhand asbestos exposure.

People living in areas of natural asbestos or those who live in homes or occupy buildings with asbestos may also be at risk. People who undertake DIY remodeling or other building projects in their homes may inadvertently expose themselves to residential materials that contain asbestos, particularly in homes built before the early 1980s.

Asbestos poses the greatest risk when it is compromised in some way. When asbestos becomes “friable,” it can release fibers into the air that cannot be seen by the naked eye. At this point, a person can inhale or ingest the asbestos fibers. The development of diseases that result from such exposure often takes years or even decades. This is why a person may suffer such exposure and show no signs of illness or disease for quite some time.

Asbestos cancer and its dangers

Since the early 1900s, the dangers of asbestos have been known, though they were not widely publicized until the 1970s. During the ’70s, the negative publicity surrounding asbestos resulted in its decreased use. Unfortunately, this did not completely resolve the problems associated with exposure.

People who work with or around asbestos-containing products and materials are at risk of inhaling invisible asbestos fibers that become airborne when the material is compromised in some way. Once these particles become airborne, people inhale and ingest them. Years or even decades later, such exposure can result in serious and even fatal damage to the lungs, stomach, heart and other organs.

Asbestos is known to causes serious harm to humans. This includes a serious lung disease called asbestosis, a rare but deadly mesothelioma cancer, and several other types of cancer. Asbestosis is a non-cancerous disease in which asbestos exposure can lead to scarring of the lungs. While thousands of people have died from asbestosis, this condition is not always fatal, especially when it is caught early. Unfortunately, those who develop mesothelioma do not have the same survival chances. Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer that is difficult to diagnose and treat. The average length of life for people with mesothelioma cancer is approximately 18 months following diagnosis. Early detection of this cancer is crucial and can significantly improve one’s prognosis.

For these reasons, it is important for those who have been exposed to asbestos to seek regular medical exams to rule out asbestos-related diseases, such as mesothelioma cancer. If someone is diagnosed with an asbestos disease, it is important for them to speak with a physician about what, if any, treatment options are available.

Attorneys for Asbestos Exposure Lawsuits

In addition to seeking a diagnosis and care from a doctor, you will also want to speak with a lawyer if you’ve been exposed to asbestos. In choosing an attorney, you’ll want one that has the right experience and qualifications. To learn more about asbestos exposure and your legal rights, please contact our asbestos attorneys today!