In a common scenario for buildings constructed during the post-World War II era in the U.S., the discovery of high levels of degraded asbestos often requires extensive removal and abatement programs before renovations can begin. A recent start date for campus renovations at University of Buffalo (UB) in New York has been pushed back due to the discovery of high levels of asbestos in the Oscar Silverman Library of Capen Hall. The first phase of the renovations were supposed to begin in April of this year and include the third floor of the library. The renovations were forced to be put on hold due to the presence of degraded asbestos that was discovered in floor tile and joint compound on the floors of the library building.
Asbestos is a general term given to a set of six naturally occurring fibrous minerals known as chrysotile, crocidolite, amosite, anthophyllite, tremolite, and actinolite. Microscopic in nature, the fibers are extremely durable and resistant to fire including most chemical erosions. These qualities make asbestos useful in commercial applications such as insulation, plumbing, textile products, automotive parts and building materials.
Asbestos is also classified as a known human carcinogen. It is a known cause for the development of chronic health diseases such as mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer and pleural thickening. These illnesses usually remain latent for many years and develop in people who have been exposed to asbestos.
Asbestos, in its normal condition, is not considered a direct threat to human health. However, when asbestos is degraded or damaged, the fibers may come apart and float in the air. If inhaled, the fibers will deposit in the lungs, causing scarring and inflammation that will severely impact an individual’s ability to breath. Symptoms of mesothelioma may take 20 to 50 years before they appear, making it difficult to pinpoint exactly where the exposure occurred and which party is at fault.
Mesothelioma, a cancer of the thin membranes that line the chest (lungs and heart) and abdomen, is the most common form of cancer due to asbestos exposure. It is also the most serious among the other asbestos-associated diseases. Mesothelioma claimed almost 30,000 lives in the United States from 1999 to 2010. Sadly, New Jersey is one of the states with the highest proportion of mesothelioma deaths.
Unfortunately, even when a person is no longer exposed to asbestos, the risk of contracting mesothelioma does not decline over time and appears to be lifelong. If you believe you may have been exposed to asbestos, you need to protect yourself and your family by consulting with an experienced New Jersey asbestos lawyer as soon as possible.
New Jersey mesothelioma lawyers at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler have devoted their practice to protecting the rights of clients who have been exposed to asbestos or who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma. Our team serves every client with empathy and client-focused service. Our offices are located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania allowing us to represent clients throughout Philadelphia and New Jersey. Call us today at 800-369-0899 or submit an online inquiry.