Individuals exposed to asbestos are at risk of developing lung diseases such as lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis.
Minuscule asbestos fibers get trapped in the portion of your lungs known as the alveoli, which is responsible for changing the oxygen you breathe into the carbon dioxide you need in your blood, resulting in damage to the lungs, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Aside from cancer, other health effects related to asbestos exposure include damages to the chest cavity lining, an increased risk for laryngitis, and a suppressed immune system. Asbestos can also affect the family members of someone who comes into contact with it. For example, when a construction worker comes home, they may still have asbestos fibers on their clothes.
The direct effect asbestos has on your lungs can vary in intensity depending on the amount of exposure an individual has, but it is likely to make it more difficult to breathe as the asbestos fibers can cause scar tissue to form. As a result, your lungs may become unnaturally stiff.
Asbestosis is the term used to describe the overarching medical conditions caused by this toxic substance. Although asbestos is naturally occurring and was once widely used in the United States a few decades ago, it causes serious health concerns that have claimed thousands of lives over the years.
As a result, the U.S. government has restrictions in place to limit its use. However, exposure to asbestos continues to this day for at-risk professions like firefighters, electricians, miners, construction workers, and more.
Symptoms of Asbestos Exposure
The symptoms of asbestos exposure include chest pains, trouble breathing, persistent coughing, a loss of appetite, strange changes in the shape of fingers and toes, and more.
Unfortunately, these effects may only show up decades after the exposure occurs, as asbestos causes harm gradually over time before becoming apparent. These symptoms may appear confusing as the exposure may not stand out as significant to the victim, especially after so many years. However, meeting with a medical professional can help diagnose the true cause of a victim’s ailment, as other conditions may mimic the symptoms of asbestos exposure, such as heart issues and types of cancer.
Asbestos is unique in that it only causes true harm if inhaled into the lungs. If asbestos is included in a product, such as a floor tile, it may be no more dangerous than other regular objects. However, many cases of asbestos exposure are caused when the substance fills the air by mistake, such as when buildings collapse that contain asbestos as a form of insulation. As it does not hurt to inhale mass amounts of asbestos in the moment, victims have no idea what they have been subjected to.
Additionally, in many cases, victims have not been provided with enough information to know that they need to be extremely cautious under these dangerous conditions. That is why new cases continue happening today, such as mass reports from first responders.
When its use and exposure were widespread decades ago, companies either did not know about the dangers of exposure, or they chose to ignore the hazards. A lack of safety precautions and understanding of the dangers of asbestos has led to many lung issues that many families may continue to face.
People at Risk of Asbestos Exposure
Individuals most at risk of exposure to asbestos are those who work in fields like mechanics, construction, mining, transportation, and more. Before the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) created limitations on the use of asbestos in the late 1970s, thousands or even millions of workers were exposed to asbestos during their average workdays, according to the National Cancer Institute.
Some of these professions include, but are not limited to:
- Individuals who worked on ships, cars, trains, and railroads
- Construction workers
- Installation workers who worked with insulation
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How a Lawyer Can Help
Thousands of people each year still deal with the impact of asbestos exposure. If you or a loved one has been affected by what asbestos does to the lungs, such as lung cancer, mesothelioma, asbestosis, ovarian cancer, or other ailments related to asbestos, you may be entitled to financial compensation.
Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today at (800) 217-6099 for your free consultation.
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