Textile and Mill Workers – Asbestos Injury and Mesothelioma Lawsuits
If you worked in a textile mill before the late 1970s, there’s a good chance you were exposed to asbestos. It’s a cancer-causing mineral fiber woven into many products because of its light weight, availability, low price, heat and fire resistance. If you’ve suffered an asbestos-related injury after working in this industry, Satterley & Kelley may help you obtain compensation.
What Do Textile and Mill Workers Do?
Before asbestos was strictly regulated in the 1970s, asbestos-containing fabrics required the involvement of many workers. Asbestos fibers were mixed with cotton, placed in alternating layers on the floor, then fed into a machine. Carding, or arranging asbestos and cotton fibers in parallel rows, came next. These cards were spun into yarn, then crocheted, weaved, or knitted into various products.
How Were Textile and Mill Workers Exposed to Asbestos?
Asbestos fibers were disturbed throughout the process, especially when fabrics were weaved, which created lint and dust. Asbestos fibers ended up in the air and settled on equipment and floors. There was also asbestos-containing insulation for drying machines.
Some of the products made from these textiles included:
- Fireproofing material
- Fire and heat-proof safety garments
- Pot holders
- Welding blankets
- Roofing felts
- Asbestos ropes, tapes, and packing
Everyone working in these mills was exposed to asbestos, some more heavily than others. They either worked directly with asbestos to create these textiles or maintained and repaired fiber-covered machinery that made them.
What are the Dangers of Asbestos to Mill Workers?
Fibers floating in the air were breathed in and swallowed by anyone in the area. Asbestos fibers could end up in the lungs and the pleura, a membrane lining the lungs and chest cavity. The body’s immune response would try but fail to dissolve them. White cells would die, spill enzymes, and injure nearby tissue, causing inflammation. The same scenario would play out wherever asbestos fibers ended up.
Some of the asbestos-related conditions a mill worker may suffer include:
- Asbestosis: Serious lung scarring significantly impairing the person’s ability to breathe
- Lung cancer: Asbestos fibers and the body’s response causes genetic mutations in lung tissue. Over years or decades, lung cancer develops
- Pleural mesothelioma: This rare and deadly cancer of the pleura may not develop for 30 to 40 years after the initial asbestos exposure
- Peritoneal mesothelioma: Swallowed fibers may move through the digestive tract and become attached to the peritoneum, the membrane covering abdominal organs and the abdominal cavity. Decades later, they could cause this fatal cancer
- Pericardial mesothelioma: This cancer results from asbestos fibers lodging in the heart’s lining
Workers’ health problems could vary depending on:
- The fiber type
- How heavy the exposure
- The exposure’s duration
- The person’s overall health
- Whether the worker smoked tobacco
What might happen is unpredictable. Someone with relatively limited exposure may be seriously ill, while a heavily exposed mill worker may be relatively unharmed.
If you worked in a textile mill where asbestos products were made, consult a healthcare provider to determine if asbestos impacts your health.
How Harmful is Mesothelioma?
Pleural mesothelioma is treatable but not curable. Treatment may improve your quality of life and reduce your symptoms, but it probably won’t cure you.
The American Cancer Society estimates that of all those with the condition, about 12% will survive five years after diagnosis. If localized, that improves to 20%. If it’s spread throughout the body, the average decreases to 8%.
A study of pericardial mesothelioma patients states they lived two months after diagnosis, on average. A 2013 European Journal of Cancer article reported on the outcomes of 108 peritoneal mesothelioma patients. Almost half (43.6%) survived seven or more years after treatment ended.
For comparison, these are overall five-year survival rates for other cancers:
- Colon cancer 64%
- Liver cancer 20%
- Lung cancer 26%
- Melanoma 93%
Your outcome depends on many factors, including your overall health, age, and mesothelioma type.
Call Us Today for A Free Consultation
If you or a loved one worked in a textile mill and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, Satterley & Kelley attorneys can answer your questions and discuss what you must do to protect your rights to compensation.