Pinpointing Asbestos Exposure
Nearly every patient diagnosed with mesothelioma has come into contact with asbestos at some point in his or her life. The most common asbestos-related cancer, mesothelioma directly attacks the lungs and abdomen.
Typically, cancer cases caused by asbestos exposure occur environmentally, occupationally, or as the result of secondhand exposure. According to medical research studies, breathing in even miniscule asbestos fibers can start a physical and metabolic chain reaction of events that lead to developing different types of cancers, as well as an incurable breathing disorder – asbestosis.
One of the biggest challenges in any mesothelioma case can be pinpointing when and where asbestos exposure has occurred. For some, it’s easier to determine, especially if they are or were employed in an occupation at risk for exposure. For others, it may be more difficult to establish the point of exposure.
When Can Asbestos Exposure Occur?
Exposure to asbestos might is the leading cause of mesothelioma. Factors that can significantly increase an individual’s cumulative exposures to asbestos and therefore increase an individual’s risk of developing mesothelioma include:
- Working in an asbestos processing plant or mine
- Living in a residential area that is near an asbestos mine
- Working in high-risk occupational settings, including the automotive or construction industries
- Disturbing asbestos during residential renovations without appropriate safety measures
- Serving on military ships, or in facilities that were build with asbestos products
Who Is Most at Risk for Asbestos Exposure?
In most cases, exposure to asbestos occurs in the workplace.
Some of the most common cases of asbestos-related cancer affect those in occupations like:
- Construction workers
- Maintenance workers
- Shipyard workers
- Power plant workers
- Industrial workers
- Chemical plant workers
- Auto mechanics
- Boiler workers
Construction workers, maintenance workers, electricians, pipefitters, millwrights, laborers, boilermakers, mechanics and other craftspeople are considered most at risk for harmful asbestos exposure, especially if their work involves older buildings or homes that were constructed with asbestos or their work involves working in factors, mills, power plants, refineries, or other industry where asbestos insulation, gaskets, packing, and other asbestos materials were frequently used. In addition to asbestos exposures during construction, exposure to asbestos may occur at any point during a renovation or demolition – once the fibers become airborne, anyone in the vicinity of work disturbing asbestos may be exposed.
Although occupational exposures are the most common, a person may experience secondary exposures, especially if they have family working in facilities known to have asbestos materials. For example, a maintenance worker or an operator who comes home with asbestos fibers on their clothes, hair or tools could expose family members to the harmful substance, ultimately increasing their risk for asbestos-related disease.
In fact, a report from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) revealed that families of those who have been exposed to asbestos through work are at an elevated risk for mesothelioma and other types of cancers, as well as asbestosis.
Exposure During Military Service
Exposure to asbestos is also a key concern for veterans and those engaged in military service, particularly those who served in the Navy. According to figures from the United States Census Bureau, there are approximately 22 million veterans across the country, thousands of which suffer from various asbestos-related diseases, including asbestosis and mesothelioma.
Due to the disease’s lengthy incubation period, many veterans do not show symptoms of disease until decades after they have finished military service.
Products Containing Asbestos
In many cases, you may not be aware you are being exposed to asbestos. What many people don’t know is that many products and building materials manufactured during the 20th century contain asbestos. According to estimates from the United States Environmental Protection Agency, roughly 33 million homes and businesses in the country contain asbestos.
Asbestos can be found in many workplace and household products, including:
- Floor tiles
- Ceiling tile
- Textured paint
- Patching compounds
- Refractory materials
Asbestos was also often used in a variety of industrial products and equipment, such as:
- Pipe insulation
- Joint compounds
- Electrical equipment
It’s important to note that, when it comes to exposure to asbestos, there is no safe level.
If you are experiencing mesothelioma-related symptoms, and do not work in an environment where there is risk for asbestos exposure, your doctor may ask you to backtrack and examine whether or not you may have been exposed to asbestos through the work of family members or through exposures from home repairs or automotive work.
What Legal Options Do I Have?
Are you or a loved one dealing with mesothelioma-related symptoms or a recent mesothelioma diagnosis? If so, your first step should be seeking the necessary medical attention as soon as possible. Only a qualified medical professional can assess your individual case and determine what, if any, cause exists for additional mesothelioma tests or treatment. There are also legal options available to you if you are dealing with asbestos-related disease – options that can be explored by consulting with an attorney specializing in these types of diagnoses and situations.
That’s where the compassionate attorneys at Antion McGee come in. Our firm focuses on handling asbestos-related cases, including those where clients are dealing with mesothelioma-related symptoms or a recent diagnosis of mesothelioma. We know that dealing with any disease is never easy, but there are options available to you. Although the course of treatment may be difficult, our team of dedicated attorneys is committed to working closely with you to protect your rights and interests, not just now, but well into the future.
Do not delay – our firm is prepared to support you and your family in your mesothelioma case today. To schedule an initial consultation with one of our attorneys to assess your case, we invite you to call the legal team at Antion McGee at (304) 807-0739.