Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer that is caused by asbestos exposure. Usually found in construction workers, demolition workers, and other workers whose jobs expose them to asbestos, mesothelioma in teenagers and children is especially rare but not impossible.
Because so many buildings and building components have been historically built with asbestos, children and teenagers can be exposed, especially at school. While mesothelioma cases in teenagers and children account for less than five percent of all diagnoses, it is still possible.
Medical experts agree that there is no safe level of asbestos exposure for humans. Any exposure can result in dire health consequences. Mesothelioma can take years or decades to show symptoms, making it challenging to figure out exactly when and where someone was exposed to asbestos.
There are two main causes of asbestos exposure in children: household products and schools.
Before the 1980s, baby powder contained minute traces of asbestos. While that ingredient has since changed, certain toys and crayons still contain traces of asbestos today.
If you have purchased any toys, crayons, or other household items, they may contain traces of asbestos. If your child spends a great deal of time with these toys or puts them in their mouth, that could increase their risk of developing mesothelioma.
Many older buildings, including schools and gyms, built before the 1980s were constructed with materials containing asbestos. When asbestos is left alone, it does not pose a significant health risk to humans.
However, disturbing asbestos products creates problems. Renovation work, improper maintenance, and any other activity which moves the asbestos product around can disturb the fibers, releasing them into the air. When those fibers are breathed in by children, they latch onto the lungs and can develop into cancer.
These fibers are microscopic, so even if a school is doing maintenance and disturbing asbestos materials, they may not know they are releasing these harmful fibers into the air. The most common areas where you might find asbestos materials include:
When a parent works with products that contain asbestos or in old buildings, they may be exposed to asbestos fibers, which can attach to their clothes. Because these fibers are microscopic, they cannot see them. When they go home and hug or play with their child, their child could possibly inhale those microscopic asbestos fibers, potentially causing illness.
However, secondary exposure is uncommon. Workers who could be potentially exposed to asbestos must go through a thorough decontamination process. This reduces the risk of secondary asbestos exposure.
While no amount of asbestos exposure is safe for humans, the more asbestos exposure a child or teenager faces, the more likely they are to develop symptoms of serious health conditions. Symptoms of mesothelioma include:
Because these symptoms could be an indication of many other types of ailments, doctors may overlook mesothelioma if you take your child in for evaluation.
Some studies have even shown that mesothelioma develops faster in children than adults. So the usual time of years or decades for mesothelioma to develop in adults could be cut much shorter in children. This is why many cancer experts are relying on radiology to play a crucial role in determining whether a child has mesothelioma.
The most common treatment for mesothelioma is chemotherapy. While a strong treatment that can wreak havoc on a body, chemotherapy treatment can be adjusted for the smaller size and weight of a child or teenager. Children and teenagers may also be eligible for surgery.
The last thing on your mind when your child is sick is a lawsuit. However, the expenses you face for their medical treatment will be high. If your child was exposed to asbestos through improper maintenance at their school, you may be able to file a claim for damages against the school and/or other liable parties. You may be able to get compensation for the following:
Your child’s health is your top priority. That is why if you speak with an experienced lawyer right away, they can shoulder the legal burden of collecting evidence and working through the process while you focus on being by your child’s side. Because your child’s medical care is what is the most important, you need to explore your legal options so you can make sure your child gets the care they deserve.
Whether at home or at school, your children could be or could have been exposed to asbestos. Our Philadelphia mesothelioma lawyers at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler can help you and your family hold the at-fault parties accountable for asbestos exposure. Call us at 215-569-4000 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation and to learn more about your legal options. We are located in Philadelphia, and we proudly serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey, including Delaware County, Chester County, and Philadelphia County.