Asbestos-related illnesses have skyrocketed over the last twenty years, and current trends indicate that the diagnoses of diseases directly caused by asbestos exposure will continue to increase. Since it often takes decades for these diseases to manifest after the actual exposure, many patients will, unfortunately, remain unaware of the danger of exposure until it is too late. Our San Antonio Asbestos Injury Attorney is often asked the following questions regarding asbestos, mesothelioma, and asbestosis.
What is Asbestos?
The term “asbestos” refers to a group of naturally occurring fibrous minerals, which are resistant to heat and fire and which do not conduct any electricity. The fiber groups can easily be separated into threads and manipulated for use in various applications. For this reason, asbestos quickly became a popular product in construction projects beginning as early as the late 1800s. It was popularly used for home and commercial building insulation, ship insulation, roofing, fireproofing, and automotive braking systems, and was also incorporated into paints, plastics, adhesives, ceiling and floor tiles, and gardening products.
Because asbestos has been used in such a wide variety of applications, the dangers of exposure are extremely high for a surprisingly diverse group of people. It is entirely possible that exposure may have occurred at home, in community parks, in the workplace, or any place where asbestos fibers may have been released into the air.
Due to regulations set in place by the federal government in the mid-1970s, the actual use of asbestos today has dramatically decreased. However, the ramifications of decades-old exposures are still readily apparent, as these regulations did little to alleviate the risk of illness from buildings which already contained asbestos. Most people will therefore inevitably be exposed to asbestos at some point during their lives. The determinative factor in whether eventual health problems will manifest is the extent and duration of the exposure.
What are Asbestos Risk Factors
According to the Mayo Clinic, workers who were previously involved in the mining, milling, manufacturing, installation or removal of asbestos products before the late 1970s are at the highest risk of asbestos-related illnesses. Examples of those at higher risk include:
- Asbestos miners
- Aircraft and auto mechanics
- Building construction workers
- Workers removing asbestos insulation around steam pipes in older buildings
- Shipyard workers
- Boiler operators
- Railroad workers
Additionally, those exposed to asbestos who are also smokers are at an increased risk of asbestos-related illnesses. Injuries typically associated with asbestos exposure include:
Asbestos Related Lung Cancer
According to the National Cancer Institute, individuals who have experienced long-term exposure to asbestos have a dramatically higher risk of contracting lung cancer later in life. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, and claims more lives per year than colon cancer, prostate cancer, ovarian and breast cancer combined. Asbestos has long been classified as a human carcinogen, and a direct link has been established between exposure to asbestos and the subsequent development of lung cancer.
As with other respiratory illnesses, general symptoms can include a chronic cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, wheezing, weight loss, bone pain and headache. Lung cancer diagnosis will include medical imaging and tissue sampling. Treatment for lung cancer can include chemotherapy, radiation, targeted drug therapy, surgery and a complete lung transplant. If you have been diagnosed with lung cancer and you have previously been exposed to asbestos – asbestos may be the cause for your cancer. If you have questions and would like to speak with an experienced injury lawyer, Hill Law Firm can help.
Contact a San Antonio Asbestos Injury Lawyer
If you or a loved one have been injured or wrongfully killed due to asbestosis, mesothelioma, or lung cancer after exposure to asbestos – call the San Antonio injury lawyer at Hill Law Firm today for questions or a free case evaluation. Our experienced attorney can help you fight for the compensation and justice you deserve, call us at (210) 960-3939.