What Is Asbestos?
The term asbestos refers to a family of magnesium-silicate mineral fibers. In the past, asbestos was used widely for insulation because it does not conduct heat well and is resistant to burning. As the link between asbestos and mesothelioma has become more well known, the use of this material has decreased. However, up to eight million Americans may already have been exposed to asbestos. Although asbestos has not been used in construction since approximately 1975, the products already in place present a danger to individuals involved in repair work and the demolition of structures containing asbestos products.
People exposed to asbestos at an early age, for a long period of time, are most likely to develop Mesothelioma.
What Is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a cancerous tumor of the mesothelium, the tissue made up of specialized cells that line the chest cavity, abdominal cavity and cavity around the heart. These cells also cover the outer surface of most internal organs. Mesothelioma is a cancer that attacks any of these mesothelial regions.
It is possible that asbestos causes cancer by physically irritating cells rather than by a chemical effect. When asbestos fibers are inhaled, the long, thin fibers may reach the ends of the small airways and penetrate into the pleural lining of the lung and chest wall. These fibers may then directly injure mesothelial cells of the pleura, and eventually cause mesothelioma.
It is important to note that symptoms of mesothelioma may not appear until 30 to 50 years after exposure to asbestos. The early symptoms of malignant mesothelioma are common symptoms that are not specific to the disease itself. People often mistake the symptoms for everyday sicknesses and ailments such as the common cold. Many people with mesothelioma have symptoms for only a few months before they are diagnosed.
- Pain at the side of the chest or in the lower back
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty swallowing
- Abdominal pain
- Weight loss
- Fluid in the abdominal cavity
- Mass or bulge in the abdomen
About 75% of mesothelioma occurrences start in the chest cavity. This is known as pleural mesothelioma. Another 10% to 20% is peritoneal mesothelioma which begins in the abdomen. Pericardial mesothelioma, found in the cavity around the heart, is very rare.
Who Is At Risk?
The people most at risk for developing asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis are workers of all sorts of skills and trades who worked in a wide variety of job sites during and prior to the mid-1970s. From the 1940s to the 1970s, many workers around the world were exposed to asbestos fibers and dust at their jobs.
High Risk Occupations
- Brake Mechanics
- Insulators (Asbestos Workers)
- Maintenance Workers
- Pipe Fitters
- Secondary Exposure
- Ship Fitters
- Steel Workers
Other At-Risk Occupations
- Auto Mechanics
- Demolition Workers
- Drywall Installers
- Factory Workers
- HVAC Workers
- Naval Officers
- Power Plant Employees
- Railroad Workers
- Stone Masons
No Cost Without Recovery
Contact our law firm to find out your rights as the victim of asbestos exposure. The Robichaux Law Firm, LLC has over 44 years of experience helping victims of mesothelioma receive financial compensation.
Our firm does not charge a fee for initial consultations. We work on a contingency fee, and there is no charge to our clients if we are unable to recover money for you.
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