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Mesothelioma risk persists long after asbestos exposure

Workers in Louisville who were exposed to asbestos continue to suffer a risk for mesothelioma that does not decline despite stopping the exposure. In many cases, ending exposure to a carcinogen lowers the risk of a cancer diagnosis, as in the case of quitting smoking. Mesothelioma is a rare cancer that is generally caused by asbestos exposure. In most cases, it is linked to exposure in the workplace. Because the mineral was not flammable, did not corrode and provided strong insulation, it was mined and used in pipes, insulation and a range of industrial activities.

However, asbestos was only banned in most U.S. industrial activities after workers began developing cancer and other illnesses. Workers who continue to handle asbestos must use strong protective gear. For example, when asbestos is discovered in a building under renovation, leaving it at risk of shedding and distribution, special suits and other equipment must be used by professionals who will remove the asbestos from the site. However, leaving the workplace after an initial exposure to the mineral did not protect workers from developing mesothelioma. While a lung cancer diagnosis was less likely for workers who left an asbestos job 10 years prior, the mesothelioma risk persisted.

Asbestos is so dangerous because of its composition, and industrial applications used small, dust-sized particles that were thin and sharp in nature. When inhaled, they can lodge deeply inside lung tissue. Once they have been inhaled or swallowed in the environment, they remain in the body, causing irritation and lung damage.

In many cases, people do not receive a mesothelioma diagnosis until they are already very ill, but the costs of treatment can be high, and these patients' suffering was nearly always caused by workplace exposure. A personal injury attorney can often help mesothelioma patients to pursue compensation from the responsible parties.

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