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What is asbestos?

Natural fibrous minerals like asbestos were commonly used as insulators in construction. Asbestos was used extensively as an additive in materials for flooring, ceilings, roofing, automotive parts, and other construction materials.

In addition to its heat resistance and strength, asbestos is highly versatile. However, the health implications of asbestos when inhaled has caused many manufacturers to seek alternatives.

Pleural mesothelioma is a deadly respiratory and lung disease caused by asbestos exposure. Its harmful effects as a human carcinogen have prompted asbestos to be banned in over 60 countries. Other asbestos-related diseases are lung cancer and asbestosis.

Asbestos-containing materials and asbestos insulation can release fibers into the air when disturbed, which can cause health problems when inhaled.

Asbestos-containing materials and asbestos insulation can release fibers into the air when disturbed, which can cause health problems when inhaled. If asbestos should be removed, make sure it's done safely by an asbestos abatement professional.

Due to the widespread use of asbestos in building materials as recently as 1986, asbestos abatement has become an industry worth billions of dollars. Asbestos abatement is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) of the U.S. Department of Labor.

Who is at the risk of asbestos?

Those who work on asbestos removal in old homes and buildings built with contaminated materials may be exposed to asbestos. These exposures can occur during construction, demolition, or disaster relief.

Asbestos was used in every branch of the U.S. military, so veterans are also more likely to suffer from mesothelioma. Because asbestos was used as a fire retardant in shipyards and vessels, those in the Navy were most at risk.

People were not only exposed directly but indirectly as well. Asbestos was a dangerous material, and the families of workers were also at risk. Many workers returned home with asbestos fibers embedded in their hair, clothing, shoes, and tools. In this way, family members were exposed to the toxic substance and increased their risk for mesothelioma and other diseases.

In addition, those who unknowingly handled asbestos-contaminated talc, such as barbers and ceramics workers, exposed their children and spouses to asbestos fibers, causing mesothelioma.

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Currently, people who are most at risk of asbestos exposure are those in the construction industry. If you or anyone in your family suffers from injury or illness as a result of asbestos exposure in the workplace, Belluck & Fox Mesothelioma lawyers can help you seek redress.

Mesothelioma rates in women are lower than in men and have remained relatively steady for a long time. Other countries are still experiencing an increase in mesothelioma rates.

Whites and Hispanics/Latinos are more likely to develop mesothelioma than African Americans or Asian Americans. Plus, younger people are much less likely to develop mesothelioma than older people.

Consequences of asbestos exposure

Asbestos can have long-term health effects if inhaled into the lungs or ingested accidentally.

In relation to asbestos exposure, the following diseases are most common:

  • As a rare, but highly aggressive cancer, mesothelioma affects the lining of internal organs.
  • Lung cancer
  • Exposure to asbestos results in the formation of non-cancerous scarring in the lungs. The risk of asbestos-related cancers is higher in people with asbestosis.

What are the symptoms?

It can take years for asbestos fibers to lodge in the lungs, and unlike other poisons, symptoms of asbestos exposure can be delayed for years. The majority of people don't seek medical attention right away when symptoms do appear.

Many asbestos-related cancers and diseases take up to 40 years to develop, making it difficult to detect them early. Such symptoms may include:

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  • Anemia
  • Blood in the cough
  • Breathing problems
  • Experiencing fatigue
  • Having a fever
  • Having a high white cell count
  • Insomnia
  • A lack of appetite
  • Sweating at night
  • Chest pain
  • Lung pain
  • Having a persistent cough
  • Insufficiency of breath
  • Loss of weight