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What is Asbestos
Asbestos is a general term that refers to a group of naturally-occurring minerals with unique properties. This material is strong enough to resist corrosion, chemicals, and high temperatures. It also insulates well against electricity and heat. Asbestos has been used in millions of products over the past 4,500 years. Nowadays this mineral is considered to be a human carcinogen. Exposure to asbestos can lead to malignant mesothelioma, lung cancer, pleural effusion, and asbestosis.
How Is Asbestos Used?
This miracle material has been used in the construction industry for many centuries. In ancient times, people were using asbestos for lantern wicks. During the 19th century, asbestos was used in numerous industries for fireproofing, insulation, sound absorption, and roofing. This material can be found in ceiling tiles, brake linings, clay, crock pots, fertilizers, packing materials, and paint. The shipbuilding industry has used asbestos in plastic, adhesives, and marine panels.
Asbestos can be also found in cement products, textiles, weatherproof jackets, and floor tiles. When it became evident that heavy exposure to asbestos can lead to cancer and other deadly diseases, asbestos has been banned in most countries. However, this material is still an important component of clutch facings and automotive parts.
Who Is At Risk of Asbestos Exposure?
Individuals who worked with asbestos-containing products, as well as their families and friends, present a high risk of malignant mesothelioma, asbestosis, and severe breathing disorders. Certain jobs are more likely to result in asbestos exposure than others. Firefighters, chemical plant workers, garage mechanics, hairdressers, insulators, and construction workers were exposed to high amounts of asbestos.
Asbestos exposure may also occur among plumbers, pipefitters, electricians, and carpenters. Those who were indirectly exposed to asbestos can develop mesothelioma as well. Asbestos dust can be carried home on the worker's clothes, shoes, and hair, which leads to secondhand asbestos exposure. People who work in buildings that were built before the year 2000, as well as those who don't know how to work safely with asbestos are at risk.
Why Is Asbestos Dangerous?
Asbestos exposure can cause malignant mesothelioma, a lethal disease that affects over 2,500 Americans each year. If you have been exposed to asbestos fibers, you may also develop lung cancer, diffuse pleural thickening, and asbestosis. Breathing in high levels of asbestos, or working with products containing asbestos for long periods of time increases the risk of developing an asbestos-related disease.
Most cases of malignant mesothelioma and asbestosis occur 20 to 50 years after initial exposure to asbestos. When asbestos dust is inhaled, it remains in the lungs and causes inflammation. People who are exposed to asbestos may present changes in the pleura, such as calcification, thickening, plaques, and pleural effusion. Those who worked with asbestos and smoked are more likely to develop asbestos-related diseases than non-smokers.
Many manufacturers who were using asbestos-containing products were aware of the health risks associated with this material. We can help you receive financial compensation. For more details, complete the form on this page.