Asbestos is a natural mineral extracted from the earth and used primarily for building and construction purposes, electrical insulation and as a sound proof agent. Asbestos is a silicate mineral and consists of crystals in the form of minute threads and fibers. Due to its properties, like being a poor conductor of heat, electricity and sound, it has a great commercial value. However, asbestos exposure can cause some serious illnesses and bad effects on the health. Mesothelioma, lung cancer and the disease asbestosis are some that are caused by prolonged exposure to Asbestos.
Asbestos and Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that usually affects the lungs. Asbestos has been found to be a major cause of Mesothelioma. Asbestos miners and people who are exposed to asbestos dust or fibers are more vulnerable to develop this type of cancer, as the unsafe fibers keep on accumulating in their body through normal respiratory process.
It has also been found that people who are not directly exposed to asbestos can also get affected as the fibers get sometimes carried by the people exposed to it. Typical examples are the families of worker and miners extracting asbestos. People who work in labs and workshops, with asbestos used as building material, are also prone to develop the diseases.
Early Warnings, Symptoms and Diagnosis
Most doctors acknowledge that there can be a exceptionally long period of time between the exposure to asbestos and the onset of detectible symptoms. This “latency period” may extend as long as 40 years, and even more in exceptional cases. Mesothelioma and lung cancers that are caused by asbestos exposure usually go unnoticed for a while. Most victims only seek medical help because common symptoms like pain in the chest, breathing problems and weight loss become so severe that they finally decide to get checked.
Mesothelioma is usually a fatal disease, and no particular treatments have been found to be universally effective. Chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation are frequently used, but the high fatality rate continues to make the results unpredictable.
Protection by State and Law Agencies
There are many laws in different countries to protect individuals against the over exposure of asbestos. In some countries, certain forms of asbestos are completely banned, whereas lesser toxic forms are allowed to be extracted and used but to a set and controlled quantity. In the United States, mesothelioma continues to affect a considerable population, with several thousand new cases diagnosed each year.
Although worker protection agencies such as OSHA and the EPA have made significant progress towards reducing asbestos-related illnesses, the personal injury lawsuits filed by injured workers against the asbestos industry have heightened awareness of the hazards of asbestos. If you or a family member has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, the attorneys can ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve, and in the process, you can help protect future generations of workers in the U.S.