What Is Asbestos And Have You Been Exposed?

What Is Asbestos And Have You Been Exposed?
What Is Asbestos And Have You Been Exposed?

What is asbestos? Asbestos is a fibrous mineral that occurs naturally in bundles.  It has been used for decades in thousands of different products. Asbestos was commonly used because it was a tough, versatile and cheap product that was resistant to heat, fire, and electrical damage. Unfortunately, exposure to asbestos has to been shown to cause fatal cancer and mesothelioma.

Exposure to asbestos can cause cancer within 20 to 60 years from a person’s first exposure. Unfortunately, many people do not even know that they have been exposed. Often people are not diagnosed until many years after the exposure occurred.

People can be exposed at work or at home or countless other places. Exposure can be caused by work, hobbies, or by using or being around products that contain asbestos. Asbestos was for many years commonly used in drywall, adhesives, siding, floor tiles, duct work, insulation, and other products found in homes and offices. The shipbuilding industry used this material to insulate boilers, steam pipes, and hot water pipes. Many tradesmen and laborers were routinely exposed, and their families were in turn exposed when their family member came home with fibers trapped on their work clothing. This exposure is similar to second-hand smoke.

Asbestos was not just found on construction sites. This material was commonly used and found in automotive products, chemical and dental labs, in jewelry making, in news printing, and in products used everyday at home. Almost every type of product that carried a fire risk often contained this dangerous material. These everyday products include older models of toasters, coffee pots, crock pots and slow cookers, clothes irons, popcorn poppers, and other home appliances. Other products include oven mitts, pot holders, ironing board covers, and electric blankets.

Another common type of product that contained asbestos was hand-held hairdryers. Asbestos was commonly used to protect components of hairdryers from heat and to prevent fires. In 1979, it was shown that 90 percent of all hairdryers sold in the United States contained asbestos. Virtually every major manufacturer of hairdryers utilized asbestos in their products at that time. The Consumer Products Safety Committee approved recall and repair proposals by every major manufacturer back in 1979. Unfortunately, people had already used these products for years, and were unwittingly blowing air toward their faces and heads that may have contained cancer-causing materials and fibers. 

Smoking And Asbestos

Smoking is unhealthy and can cause lung cancer. However, a smoker who is also exposed to asbestos is at an even higher risk of developing lung cancer. When a cigarette smoker is exposed, his or her risk of developing lung cancer increases by 50 to 84 times. There are several reasons for this. Smoking weakens the lungs and decreases the ability of the lungs to remove asbestos fibers. Smoking also irritates the lungs and causes the lungs to excrete mucus, which in turn limits the ability of the lungs to remove asbestos fibers. 

One thing is certain, when a smoker is exposed to asbestos those two factors combine to make it even more likely that the person will develop lung cancer. However, it is important to note that a person may still be able to pursue a claim against for exposure even if the person was a smoker. 

Diagnosing Asbestos-Related Injuries

Exposure to asbestos can cause incurable cancer, malignant mesothelioma, and other health problems. Consult with a physician if you, your spouse or children are experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • Coughing;
  • Spitting up blood;
  • Shortness of breath;
  • Pain in the shoulder, side, back or chest;
  • Unintentional weight loss;
  • Unusual fatigue.

These symptoms should be evaluated immediately and exposure should be considered in the diagnosis of any injury or illness. A chest x-ray, CT scan, or MRI can often help determine whether a person has suffered an asbestos-related injury. An evaluation of whether a person suffering from these symptoms has been exposed should be made. This should also include whether anyone that person routinely comes into contact with has been exposed to any products or items that contain the material.

Claims And Causes Of Action

If you or a family member have been diagnosed with lung cancer or mesothelioma, or if a family member or loved one has died from lung cancer or mesothelioma, you may be entitled to compensation. At Mattiacci Law, we investigate cases of abestos exposure and mesothelioma and can help determine whether you or a family member may have a case.

There are often time limitations within which a claim must be filed, so it is important to speak to an attorney right away. Contact the asbestos firm of Mattiacci Law today for a completely free case evaluation.  

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