The Dangers of Asbestos Exposure
Asbestos is a toxic mineral that is directly related to terminal lung cancers such as mesothelioma and asbestosis. It was widely used in the construction, manufacturing, and automotive industries after World War II because of its resistance to heat and chemicals as well as its insulation properties. When asbestos is handled, the fibers that make up the mineral become airborne. Philadelphia mesothelioma lawyers report that when individuals inhale these fibers, they embed themselves into the deep tissue of the lungs where they lay dormant for a period of 20 to 50 years before developing into mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.
Treatment options for mesothelioma are limited and survival rates are low. Many victims of this disease succumb within five years of diagnosis. Significant studies have been done to find effective ways to prolong life expectancy for these patients, but progress has been slow. Approximately 3,000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma in the United States each year and over 2,000 others lose their lives from the disease annually.
Are You at Risk?
Individuals who worked in certain industries prior to 1980 have a greater risk of developing mesothelioma because of their direct exposure to asbestos. Workers in the following industries have the highest risk of developing asbestos-related illnesses.
- Automotive Workers: Many automotive parts are made with asbestos, particularly brakes, brake pads, and rotors. Clutches, heat seals, gaskets, engine components, and exterior panels contain asbestos and continue to be used today. Mechanics, body shop repair workers, and automotive manufacturers are commonly exposed to asbestos when components are bent, grinded, and even cleaned.
- Construction Workers: Asbestos was a big part of construction in the early to mid-1900s. Asbestos was commonly used in such things as vinyl flooring, plaster, stucco, insulation, roofing shingles, piping, and insulation. Electricians, carpenters, plumbers, pipe fitters, welders, and roofers are still high-risk occupations today because of the exposure that comes from the demolition and restoration of older buildings and homes.
- Firefighters: Buildings built between 1900 and 1980 have a high rate of asbestos in their structures. When one of these buildings or homes catches fire, asbestos fibers are released and potentially inhaled by the firefighters. The demolition of these structures following a fire further exposes those involved with removing the debris.
- Military: Asbestos was commonly used by all branches of the military for more than half of the 20th Battleships, submarines, aircraft carriers, planes, tanks, and auxiliary equipment all contained asbestos parts and exposed members of our Armed Forces to high levels of the toxin as they worked and repaired these vehicles. There are approximately 22 million veterans living in the United States today, with many of them at risk of developing mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.
- Miners and Factory Workers: Those who mined for asbestos or worked in plants that manufactured asbestos-containing products were at risk for exposure. The microscopic asbestos fibers that are released when working with the mineral are easily transported through the air. Even workers that used masks and other productive breathing equipment while working were still exposed to the fibers in the environment surrounding these industrial sites.
- Second Hand Exposure: Even those who did not work in the high-risk industries have suffered from mesothelioma and other respiratory diseases because of their second hand exposure to this toxin. Workers returning home after being in the mines or factories all day had toxic fibers stuck to their hair, skin, and clothes. Those that lived in close proximity to the mines or the factories inhaled asbestos through airborne fibers that traveled from the work sites. The simple act of giving someone a hug, laundering a family member’s work clothes, or opening the windows to let in fresh air resulted in many people being exposed to asbestos.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with or has died from an asbestos-related illness, there is help. Many new medical treatments are emerging that can prolong the life expectancy of those with mesothelioma. Class action lawsuits, trust funds, and settlements have helped many victims and their families receive compensation for their injuries. It is imperative for anyone diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness to consult with an experienced mesothelioma lawyer as soon as possible.
Philadelphia Mesothelioma Lawyers at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler Help Victims of Asbestos Exposure Claim Compensation
A diagnosis of mesothelioma, asbestosis, and other asbestos-related illnesses can quickly devastate a family’s emotional and financial health. Philadelphia mesothelioma lawyers at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler are staunch advocates for victims of asbestos exposure. Our firm is dedicated to helping families recover the compensation they are entitled to receive.
Call us at 215-569-4000, or toll-free at 800-369-0899, or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. Our offices are conveniently located in Philadelphia and we serve clients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including Delaware County, Chester County, and Philadelphia County.