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GE factory staff may be at risk for asbestos-related illness

General Electric has been a major employer in the Louisville area for some time. Quite a few people commute to Appliance Park every day to clock in for work. Most of those people expect to bring home a decent living wage, as well as benefits that improve the quality of life for their family members.

Unfortunately, some of them can also bring home particulate asbestos, which may make them or the people that live with them very sick after many years. General Electric has used asbestos in a number of its products, which could leave their current and former workers at increased risk for certain illnesses, including deadly forms of cancer.

This risk particularly affects those who have helped with the manufacture, repair or installation of specialized offshore wind turbines. However, handing older products made decades ago could also increase people's likelihood of illness. That includes their old wiring, as well as some of the insulation they used in different products. Former workers or family members diagnosed with mesothelioma may find that their illness correlates to the work at General Electric.

The amount of asbestos you inhale over time could leave you sick

Decades ago, employers took few medical precautions for their workers when dealing with asbestos. Even today, with modern safety equipment, workers may run the risk of dangerous levels of exposure. Workers can inhale particulate asbestos on the job while handling materials that contain it or while manufacturing devices with asbestos materials inside.

The asbestos materials cause irritation and inflammation in the lungs. They can take many decades for that irritation to flare up into full-fledged mesothelioma. The delay in onset may leave people believing they have few options. However, it is possible to trace many cases of mesothelioma back to asbestos exposure at a place of employment.

Companies that endanger their workers have an obligation to those people

Although federal regulations didn't require asbestos protections years ago, it has required them for several decades. More importantly, scientists and medical doctors were aware of the potential dangers of asbestos as far back as the turn of the 20th century.

Companies knew there was a likelihood that exposure would endanger workers, but they decided to put profits ahead of employee safety. Too many of those workers end up with life-changing illnesses, like mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is a deadly and aggressive form of cancer. Paying for treatments can be difficult, especially since you likely can't work while dealing with the symptoms of mesothelioma. Talking with a lawyer about your potential rights as a former worker who is now sick can help you make informed decisions about the kinds of compensation available to you.

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