Asbestos, a mineral often used in the past in building materials, presents a risk that mesothelioma cancer could develop in those who are continuously exposed. There are six different types of asbestos minerals, and all of them are carcinogenic. Asbestos exposure can cause lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis—a long-term lung disease. Although not every person who has been exposed to asbestos will suffer the negative consequences, everyone should be aware of the possible harmful effects of the fibers.
Those who suffer from asbestos-related diseases should seek medical care from medical professionals and may also wish to take legal action. Those who have been affected by an asbestos-related condition may be eligible for compensation from liable employers, contractors, or others in charge of ensuring people’s safety.
Jobs with Higher Risk of Exposure
Some jobs present higher risks of exposure to asbestos than others, including:
- Aircraft Mechanics
- Ground Zero first-responders and volunteers
- 9/11 Workers
- Oil Refinery Workers
- Auto Mechanics
This is just a handful of jobs that may present high risks of asbestos exposure to employees. If you have suffered from asbestos-related illnesses in one of these occupations or another, you may wish to take legal action.
Due to the nature of their work, laborers are especially at risk to asbestos exposure. Basic face masks will not provide sufficient protection to work safely around asbestos fibers. There are half-face respirator masks that can protect against asbestos exposure, but even with these masks there will always remain risks. How the mask is worn can affect its effectiveness (i.e. facial hair can create enough space for the asbestos fibers to permeate). Even when the mask is worn correctly, asbestos fibers can cling to your hair and clothes, so wearing full body protective gear is highly recommended. After use, you should throw these clothes in asbestos-designated waste bags while wearing the face mask. After doing so, remove the mask and take a thorough shower.
What Should I Do?
After a diagnosis of PM, average life expectancy is 18 months, although there are treatments available. If you think you or a loved one may have been exposed to asbestos, whether in the 1970s “asbestos boom,” or more recently due to working or residing in an older building, you should educate yourself on asbestos-related diseases. It is vital to keep in mind that PM can take decades to develop after asbestos exposure and many people who develop the cancer do not show symptoms until the later stages. Even if you do not have any symptoms but believe you may have been exposed to asbestos, you should consult your doctor. It is important for construction workers to get regularly screened for any asbestos-associated diseases.
Symptoms of PM:
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty swallowing
- Persistent cough
- Night sweats or fever
- Pain in the lower back
- Unexplained weight loss
- Lumps under the skin on the chest
Other Asbestos-Related Diseases
While an asbestos-related disease may be classified as “benign,” it can increase the risk for future development of the other more serious diseases. Therefore, if diagnosed with one of the benign diseases, you should stay alert to the greater possibility one of the malignant diseases may later develop and remember to suit up when working in areas where asbestos may be disturbed (removal efforts, construction, renovation, etc.). Some of the other asbestos-related diseases include:
- Lung cancer (20-30 year latency period)
- Peritoneal mesothelioma (20-50 year latency period)
- Asbestosis / pulmonary fibrosis (15 year latency period)
- Pleural Plaques (20-40 year latency period)
- Diffuse pleural thickening (20-40 year latency period)
- Pleural effusion (15 year latency period)
Consult an Asbestos Lawyer in New York
Asbestos can cause life-changing diseases in those who are continuously exposed. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with PM or another asbestos-related disease, you deserve to be compensated for the injury and the devastating impact it had on your life. Even if the cancer is in remission, you should still demand justice for what you suffered. Hach & Rose, LLP represented (co-counsel) a union worker who suffered from lung cancer and the firm obtained a $1,200,000 settlement. He is in complete remission and continues to work at his job. An engineer who suffered from lung cancer was turned away by a major New York asbestos law firm. Hach & Rose, LLP chose to represent him and obtained a settlement (co-counsel) of $1,800,000. He is currently retired and in complete remission.
Those who have been affected can take legal action to secure the compensation they need to pay medical bills and cover lost wages. At Hach & Rose, LLP, our lawyers are committed to helping those affected by asbestos because they have seen the devastating effects the diseases can cause people. Regardless of the extent of your injuries and your current health, Hach & Rose, LLP is here to listen if you have questions regarding asbestos-related illnesses.