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Asbestos Exposure at Work and Mesothelioma Risk
Studies show that Asbestos exposure is the only cause of Mesothelioma. Unfortunately, there is no safe level of Asbestos exposure, nor is there any way to predict which people will develop cancer from Asbestos. Once the fibers are breathed into the lungs or swallowed, they can accumulate in the lining surrounding the lungs, stomach, heart, or other tissues.
For the past century unrestricted use of Asbestos in plants, factories, shipyards, and other industrial facilities has contaminated almost all job sites in the United States.
Some of the Most Common Sources of Exposure Include:
Pipe and ductwork insulation
Ceiling, wall and floor tiles
Paints or textured paints
Clutches and gaskets
Home and building insulation
Drywall joint compounds
Brake pads and linings
Boilers, furnaces and furnace doors
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral which is heat resistant, fire resistant, and corrosion resistant. This mineral was mined and used by manufacturers in thousands of products that were widely used in almost all types of industrial, commercial and construction work from the 1930s until the late 1970s. Asbestos fibers are lightweight and brittle and easily break off and float in the air during normal use. These airborne (or friable) fibers are easily inhaled in the lungs.
How does Exposure to Asbestos Occur?
When working around Asbestos, tiny fibers traveling on air currents can enter the lungs. The fibers then become trapped and accumulate in large numbers in the lungs over time. Over the course of many years, the asbestos fibers puncture the lung tissue and then enter the pleura - which is the tissue surrounding the lungs.
As they migrate through the lung tissue and the pleural lining, the fibers cause scarring that worsens over time and eventually affects lung function. Asbestos fibers can also trigger genetic mutations in the cells of the lung or pleura that can cause cancerous tumors such as Mesothelioma or Asbestos Lung Cancer.
Asbestos fibers are extremely small, and can be just light enough to travel into the lungs with a breath, and just heavy enough to remain once you exhale. These fibers are like tiny needles which get stuck in your lung tissue. Over decades the fibers travel through your body due to gravity and the physical motion of your daily activities.
Asbestos fibers are a mineral and will never break down, decompose, nor can they be absorbed by the body. One of our expert doctors once explained that an Asbestos fiber was like a "tiny bullet in slow motion," that would keep traveling at a snail's pace until it hit something. In this case, it hits the pleura which is made of mesothelial cells. The mesothelial tissue is particularly tough—comparable with the skin on the inside of your mouth.
Sometimes when an Asbestos fiber hits a mesothelial cell it damages the cell's genetic code. In such an instance, often the damaged cell dies. The problem arises when the cell does not die, but instead is damaged in a way that is copied in future divisions of the cell. This is actually what makes a cell malignant and dangerous to the body.
Smoking and Asbestos Lung Disease
Studies show that smokers exposed to Asbestos have seven times higher risk factor of getting Lung Cancer over smokers not exposed to asbestos. The two risk factors combine together to be more dangerous in what is known as a synergistic effect.
Mesothelioma is not related to smoking. Tobacco usage is not related to mesothelioma cancers because the tobacco smoke and its contaminants only enters the lungs. The pleural (lining of the lungs) is never exposed to tobacco smoke and any cancer that develops there can only be caused by the asbestos fibers that travel there from the lung tissue.
Mesothelioma from Jobs with Asbestos Exposure
Mesothelioma diagnoses are linked to on-the-job Asbestos exposure. Unfortunately this exposure accounts for thousands of occupational deaths per year in the United States. Companies used Asbestos to make thousands of products thereby exposing w
From the 1920s to the 1990s, many workers handled Asbestos or asbestos-containing products on a daily basis. In the mid 1970's Asbestos started to be removed from new insulation and construction materials, but decades later remodeling any building built before 1980 can lead to significant exposure.
Many Mesothelioma victims served in the Military or worked in manufacturing, construction, automotive repair and other industries with extreme on-the-job Asbestos exposure, including shipbuilding, foundry work, and refinery work.
In most cases asbestos-related diseases are developed in 10-50 years after a person inhaled their first Asbestos fibers. In particular, the risk of dangerous asbestos exposure is high to those workers who mine and process raw Asbestos, manufacture asbestos-containing products or repair buildings or machinery with Asbestos containing components. Even after Asbestos was banned in some industries workers continued to face severe Asbestos exposure while renovating and demolishing any building built before 1980.
Occupations at High Risk for Asbestos Exposure
Various industries recognized Asbestos as a cheap, powerful insulator and put it to wide use at their job sites. Occupations with a high risk of Asbestos exposure include:
Grinding Machine Operators
Heavy Equipment Mechanics
HVAC Workers (Heating & Cooling)
Industrial Plant Workers
Mixing Operators (Industrial)
Oil Refinery Workers
Plastics/Molding Compound Worker
Power Plant Workers
Sailors and Deckhands
Sheet Metal Workers
Although workers in the aforementioned industries face a much greater risk of Asbestos exposure than people in other occupations - there is no safe level of exposure to Asbestos, and many people who have had only small exposures have developed serious health problems.
If you have been diagnosed with Mesothelioma, or another asbestos-related disease, please contact our Law Offices for a Free Consultation immediately-- timely filing is imperative to bringing a successful claim.
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