Asbestos, used in thousands of products for centuries, is a silent and deadly menace. This FAQ sheds light on its dangers, health impacts, and how to protect yourself and your loved ones from its harmful effects.
What is Asbestos, and Why Was It Used?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fiber prized for its fire resistance, as insulation, and for its light weight and tensile strength. It was extensively used for decades in various industries, including construction, automotive, and manufacturing. Thanks to its unique properties, asbestos was added to countless products, from building materials to brake pads.
What Makes Asbestos Dangerous?
Asbestos fibers are microscopic and easily airborne. When inhaled, these fibers can be inhaled and become lodged in the lungs. If swallowed, they may make their way into the digestive system. This leads to severe health problems over time.
What are the Health Risks of Asbestos Exposure?
Asbestos fiber exposure can lead to a range of severe health issues, including:
- Asbestosis: A chronic lung condition due to lung tissue scarring caused by prolonged asbestos exposure, leading to breathing difficulties
- Lung Cancer: Asbestos exposure increases the chances of lung cancer, particularly in smokers or individuals with prolonged exposure
- Mesothelioma: An aggressive and rare cancer affecting the lining of the lungs, heart, abdomen, chest, and abdominal cavities. Asbestos causes mesothelioma.
- Other Cancers: Asbestos exposure is also linked to cancers of the larynx, ovaries, and other organs
Depending on the issue and when it was diagnosed, treatment may extend and improve your life, but many asbestos-related diseases are fatal.
Who’s at Risk of Asbestos Exposure?
Workers in specific industries, such as construction, shipbuilding, the steel industry, power plant operation, maintenance workers, and vehicle mechanics are particularly vulnerable to asbestos-related disease due to the widespread use of asbestos-containing materials. Additionally, those who lived with asbestos workers or individuals residing in older buildings with asbestos-based insulation or materials are also at risk.
Can Short-Term Exposure Be Harmful?
Short-term asbestos exposure can have long-term consequences. There’s no known safe asbestos exposure amount. Though rare, relatively light asbestos exposure could lead to mesothelioma decades later.
How Can I Protect Myself and My Family from Asbestos Exposure?
There are a few asbestos-containing products still sold in the US. Most were largely regulated off the market starting in the late 1970s. You may be exposed to a new product with asbestos or one installed many decades ago.
- Identify: If you live in an older home or work in an industry at risk of asbestos exposure, identify any asbestos-containing materials and have them properly inspected by professionals
- Professional Removal: If asbestos-containing materials are found, hire trained professionals to remove and dispose of them safely
- Precautions: If you’re involved in activities that might disturb asbestos-containing materials and fibers are released into the air, take appropriate precautions like using protective gear and sealing off the affected areas
Older asbestos products will likely fall apart, so even the lightest touch could send asbestos fibers into the air.
How Can I Know If I’m Exposed to Asbestos?
Asbestos was so commonly used that unless you’re relatively young, you’ve probably been exposed to asbestos and have some fibers in your body. If you suspect you’ve been exposed to high levels, especially if you’ve worked in an at-risk industry, consult a healthcare professional. Regular medical check-ups and informing your doctor about your exposure history can help catch potential health issues early.
What Should I Do If I’m Diagnosed with an Asbestos-Related Disease?
Consult with a medical specialist experienced in treating such conditions. You should also call Satterley & Kelley, PLLC, to learn about your rights to compensation and how they can be protected.
Can I Sue for Compensation for My Asbestos-Related Health Issues?
If your asbestos exposure and related disease can be documented, you may obtain compensation for the financial and physical harm you suffer. Family members of those killed by asbestos-related disease may also have grounds to seek compensation.
Depending on which companies were involved in making and selling the products causing your exposure, you may be able to file a legal action or a claim against a trust fund set up by a business that’s gone bankrupt.
Get Help Today
When dealing with an asbestos-related lawsuit or trust fund claim, you need an experienced attorney in your corner, and that’s what we can provide. At Satterley & Kelley, PLLC, we have decades of experience with asbestos litigation. To get help, contact us at 855-385-9532 today to schedule a free consultation.