What are the risks associated with asbestos exposure? Who is at the greatest risk of exposure? What legal options do these people have at their disposal?
Records suggest that during the time of the Persian Empire, Persian rulers would dazzle visitors by throwing towels and napkins into flames to “clean” them, after which the items would be removed from the fire whole and unblemished. But while with limited exposure the Persians may have remained unscathed, scientists in the twentieth century have determined that asbestos, the material from which the cloth was made and which has been commonly used in modern times, is not simply unhealthy but has been proven to cause several different cancers, including mesothelioma.
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If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or other asbestos-based illnesses, The Johnson Law Firm can help by reviewing your case and discussing all available legal options. With offices in Pikeville, The Johnson Law Firm prides itself on serving the legal needs of all the people in Kentucky, especially around the Pikeville area, and has both the knowledge and experience to help you get the compensation you deserve. For a free consultation, contact us online or call 606-437-4488. The consultation is free, and if we move forward with your claim, we receive no money until it is successfully settled.
Asbestos by Definition
According to The National Cancer Institute (NCI), asbestos is the name of six natural minerals consisting of bundles of fibers made up of thin, durable fibers. The fibers are resistant to heat, fire, and chemicals and do not conduct electricity; because of these characteristics, asbestor has been used in multiple capacities for several years. In the modern era, asbestos use skyrocketed during the industrial revolution and is especially prevalent in construction materials, especially at its peak use in the 1970s. Based on several surveys, it was estimated in 2011 that more than 50 percent of homes in the United Kingdom still contain asbestos. However, because of health risks, asbestos use has been banned in most countries. In the United States, it is still used in cement piping.
When asbestos is disturbed, the fibers may be ingested and collect in the lungs, which can cause a variety of issues, primarily mesothelioma and asbestosis. The risk of developing of the disease is based on exposure. An article by National Public Radio (NPR) describes three levels of exposure: the most endangered are miners and manufacturers; next are tradesmen, including individuals who work with or transport asbestos; and the last level includes individuals exposed to asbestos through construction, including renovation and demolition. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) have all labeled asbestos a known carcinogen.
The primary health concern with asbestos is its connection to mesothelioma, a type of cancer associated with inhaling asbestos fibers. Asbestos.com states that mesothelioma forms on the protective lining of the lungs and abdomen, with no definitive cure. The CDC reports that, despite regulation, 45,221 people have died from mesothelioma between 1999 and 2015. NPR reports the disease may take between two to seven decades to develop, and the biggest increase in sufferers are those more than 85 years old. Construction workers comprise one of the hardest hit groups, especially those dealing with old and renovated homes.
The NCI reports that several factors may affect the possibility of contracting mesothelioma, including:
- Dosage: Exposure to larger amounts of asbestos increases the risk of ingesting fibers and contracting mesothelioma.
- Duration: The length of the exposure also increases risk.
- Type of Asbestos: Smaller fibers are more likely to be ingested.
- Personal Risk Factors: If the person has bad personal habits, like smoking, or bad or weak lungs, risk increases.
- Genetic Factors: If the lungs are already weak, it may increase the possibility of long-term illness.
There are several symptoms that may indicate the presence of asbestos-related illness:
- Trouble breathing
- Coughing blood
- Chest pain
- Swallowing issues
- No appetite
- Loss of weight
Treatment and Prevention
The best treatment for asbestos exposure is prevention. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has several regulations and guidelines designed to offset the risks of asbestos-related sicknesses, including research, work-site risk evaluations, exposure-control regulations and publications. If mesothelioma is detected, treatment depends on the stage, but may include surgery, radiation treatment and/or chemotherapy.
Billy Johnson and The Johnson Law Firm in Pikeville, Ky., are proud to bring their experience and resources to aggressively pursue your legal needs. If you have any questions about your possible exposure to asbestos, or if you want to set up a consultation, contact The Johnson Law Firm online or call 606-437-4488.
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