Asbestos, which has been linked to conditions like mesothelioma and other forms of cancer, isn't nearly as prevalent in our lives as it was during much of the last century. However, it was once present in homes, schools, office buildings and myriad other structures. It was used in floor and ceiling tiles, roofing materials, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, insulation and construction materials. It was valued for its strength and fire-resistant qualities.
People who have worked as custodians or in maintenance jobs in buildings that contained asbestos are at risk of developing diseases including mesothelioma and other asbestos-related cancers. When materials containing asbestos are disturbed, asbestos dust is released and people may end up breathing it into their lungs.
People in cleaning and maintenance professions who had close contact with electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems, either to clean or repair them, may have been repeatedly exposed to asbestos. The same is true if they were working in buildings where construction work that may have disturbed materials containing asbestos occurred.
Since it can take anywhere from a decade to 60 years for exposure to asbestos to manifest as mesothelioma, many of the millions of people who have been around asbestos are just now finding out that they are suffering from mesothelioma and other asbestos-related conditions.
Some of the companies found liable for asbestos exposure have established trust funds to pay victims. Regardless of how you or a loved one contracted an asbestos-related ailment, it's important to find out what your legal options are. Compensation can help you deal with medical costs, lost wages and other expenses.