Exposure to asbestos is the only known cause of mesothelioma, a deadly form of cancer that usually affects the lungs, but can also appear in other parts of the body.
Asbestos is a material that was once in heavy use in many industries and commonly used as insulation. Exposure to asbestos is the sole known cause of mesothelioma, and the respiratory system is the primary path for asbestos fibers to enter the body.
Although the dangers of asbestos exposure were known for decades, it was not until much later that the substance was finally regulated. Under the Toxic Substances Control Act and the Consumer Product Safety Act, there are many banned products and uses for asbestos, including paper products, pipe insulation, block insulation, insulating products for boilers or hot water tanks, spray applied applications, wall-patching compounds and other products.
Asbestos was used in many different products, for example:
Many people were exposed to asbestos in the workplace. It was widely used in the building trades, shipbuilding, mining, demolition, heating and cooling equipment repair, automotive repair, roofing, in shipyards and in maintenance of older buildings. Asbestos fibers can be present in dust and enter the lungs or be carried home, exposing family members by contact with clothing.
While asbestos exposure is known to have occurred in many types of industries, secondary exposures are also beginning to be recognized. Secondary exposure to asbestos occurs when a person directly exposed to the material unintentionally transports it to another location on clothing, tools, on the body or on other objects. Some cases have been reported in which asbestos was removed and transported without proper protective controls.
After inhaling asbestos fibers, a long period of time can pass before the development of mesothelioma – often from 20 to 50 years. The most common location for the disease to develop is in the lining of the lungs, above the diaphragm. As the small fibers lodge in the pleura, irritation and inflammation can develop, with an inflammatory immune response.
One theory is that mesothelioma may develop due to the fact that “the asbestos fibers are so small that they begin to interact with mesothelial cells at a molecular level, interrupting cell replication and/or damaging the cellular DNA during mitosis.”
Because the disease is most often diagnosed at an advanced stage, treatment options may be limited to merely attempting to keep the patient as comfortable as possible. Earlier detection of mesothelioma could allow for some treatments, such as surgery, chemotherapy and radiation to prolong life. The disease is very aggressive once it has developed, and death often occurs within months.
If you or a loved one has mesothelioma, you may have the legal right to pursue compensation from those who were responsible for the illness. You may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, wrongful death and other losses.
Let the law offices of Kraft & Associates, P.C., advise you about your legal rights as a mesothelioma victim. We’re an established and professional law firm with friendly lawyers and staff who are easy to talk to. Call us at (214) 999-9999 or contact us online for a free consultation and claim evaluation.