Most workers have heard of the complications that arise from exposure to asbestos. The fibrous compound was used in a myriad of applications up until the 1980s, and few companies warned employees about the dangers of exposure. But as is now widely known, exposure to asbestos can lead to malignant mesothelioma, also known as asbestos cancer.
Anyone who worked in construction, maintenance, or custodial fields when asbestos was in use could have been exposed. But new research has shown that military veterans are at a particularly high risk for malignant mesothelioma, particularly Navy seamen and technicians who worked with asbestos parts on ships. This article will examine that risk, the possible results, and how an experienced mesothelioma attorney can help with recovery of damages.
Exposure To Asbestos
Asbestos was originally used because it helped add strength to compounds. It was commonly found in a variety of construction supplies, including drywall, plaster, caulking and putty, joint compounds, insulation, and fireproofing materials. Whenever any of these construction materials were installed, handled, sanded, or removed, the asbestos fibers were knocked out into the air. The fine asbestos dust was easy to inhale, and often ended up remaining in the air even after the actual work had been performed. This allowed it to be inhaled by others who may not have been immediately involved with the project that kicked up the dust initially. Cleanup crews, inspection crews and others often inhaled the fibers accidentally without ever knowing that they were in danger.
On a ship, the danger of exposure to asbestos was even greater. The enclosed spaces made it more likely that fibers would be inhaled. In the open air, asbestos eventually dissipates even though it tends to remain airborne for quite some time. On a boat, there is limited ability for the fibers to blow away naturally. Instead, they circulate and expose more people to the harmful effects of the dust, greatly increasing the risk of asbestos cancer.
Extended Risk From Indirect Exposure
If you were in a situation where you may have worked with asbestos yourself, you should certainly get screened for asbestos cancer. But you may be at risk for malignant mesothelioma if you were in the vicinity of asbestos fibers and inhaled them unintentionally. You may even have the disease if a family member worked with asbestos; the fibers tend to cling to clothing, creating the possibility that they would dislodge at home, after the workday was over and outside the environment that caused the original contamination.
Exposure Leads To Malignant Mesothelioma
When workers inhaled the fibers, they rarely knew that the fibers could cause potentially deadly health hazards like malignant mesothelioma. However, most companies that manufactured construction products containing asbestos were aware of the fact that when it was inhaled, it could eventually lead to deadly asbestos cancer. The asbestos fibers agitate the mesothelium, which are mucus membranes that line almost every organ in the human body. Malignant mesothelioma is usually found in the mesothelium around the lungs, but it can also be found around the heart and even surrounding the stomach.
What makes asbestos cancer so dangerous is how easily it can spread throughout the body. It begins as small tumors within the mesothelium, but tends to quickly metastasize into other nearby tissues. Because most malignant mesothelioma is found around the lungs, the cancer tends to become lung cancer. Although the two are linked, asbestos cancer is not the same as lung cancer: malignant mesothelioma may spread and become lung cancer, but it always begins in the mesothelium and it is always caused by asbestos exposure.
Do You Need A Mesothelioma Attorney?
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, you should strongly consider hiring an experienced mesothelioma attorney. Although the use of asbestos was banned decades ago, asbestos cancer can take many years to manifest. In fact, many cases are going to court just recently. This rise in cases has led to specialized mesothelioma attorneys, who are familiar with the law and the science behind asbestos cancer.
No matter how advanced your disease, a mesothelioma attorney can be a very beneficial partner throughout the process. He or she will be able to guide you through the complex legal issues of proving fault, and he or she will be able to assist your family during the late stages of the disease. You need a mesothelioma attorney you can trust, but once you find the right one, you’ll be able to rest assured that your rights are being defended as well as possible.