Historical evidence suggests that asbestos has been mined and used for over 4,500 years because of its resistance to fire. Before the 1800’s, it was used primarily to preserve bodies or as clothing that could be cleaned simply by exposing the material to flame. It wasn’t until the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s, however, that asbestos had many practical applications. Asbestos found many uses both in factories and in the construction industry where it had the ability to provide insulation, sound proofing and resistance to fire. In the early 1900s, the first death that was officially attributed to asbestos was recorded and now a century later, we are still learning of its dangers.
The Many Applications of Asbestos
Asbestos is a group of six different minerals that exist in nature in the form of small crystals that are fibrous in nature and possess the ability to absorb sound and resist fire. Asbestos is also a very strong material, which made it extremely attractive as a construction implement. It has also been used as electrical insulation, as a key material in the production of drywall and as an additive to cement to create fiber cement.
Those who have the greatest amount of exposure to asbestos are the people who mine the material and it is still mined in major countries around the world such as Russia, China, Brazil and Canada. The European Union has banned the mining and use of all asbestos products due to health concerns and while the United States has not banned its use, regulations have been put into place that are designed to phase out its use over time. Because there are still trace amounts of asbestos in many materials used in automotive parts, construction and welding materials and insulation, anyone who works with these products faces the risk of asbestos inhalation.
Asbestos Inhalation and Mesothelioma
Anyone who is exposed to asbestos for long periods of times is at risk for developing mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer that is found in the thin membranes that coat each of the major organs in the body. While mesothelioma is most common in the lungs, it may spread to the lining of the stomach or of the heart. As with any form of cancer, there is also a risk that the cancer may spread to other organs as well.
There are various treatments available for mesothelioma which may include the more common cancer treatment options of chemotherapy or radiation. In some instances, doctors may decide that surgery is an option or devise a treatment plan that utilizes multiple forms of treatment to attack the cancer. It is always best to be diagnosed early rather than later because the number of treatment options available is greater as is the chance of beating the cancer.
If you or a loved one has had prolonged exposure to asbestos, the first step is to speak with a doctor and determine whether you or your loved one have mesothelioma. Should you find that you have been diagnosed with the condition, it is important to know that you may have the right to compensation if your mesothelioma is the result of your working conditions. A qualified mesothelioma lawyer will be able to review your case and determine if you should proceed with litigation.
We are a firm dedicated to helping those who have had their lives turned upside down due to asbestos exposure. The medical costs associated with mesothelioma can be great, which is why it is important to get started on your case right away so that you are able to meet all of your obligations. If your employer is at fault, you may be able to collect damages for your medical bills, time off of work and pain and suffering. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and to learn more.