The dangers and toxicity of asbestos were widely known in the 1930s, yet corporations continued using it extensively through much of the 20th century. These corporations willingly exposed people to the potentially deadly danger, illnesses caused by asbestos such as asbestosis, lung cancer and like mesothelioma., and death. They put profits ahead of the health and well being of employees and the public. Damages are often awarded to victims of asbestos exposure, but the cases can be complex. Experienced attorneys can help identify the parties who are liable for the asbestos exposure. In Alabama, Farris, Riley & Pitt has such experience and can help you recover money for your asbestos related injuries.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a term used to describe a group of naturally occurring fibrous materials that share specific properties. The properties are what have historically made asbestos a favorite for use in industrial materials. The properties include heat resistance, acid resistance and high tensile strength (meaning the fibers are capable of being pulled and stretched without breaking). Asbestos was inexpensive, durable and flexible. All these-with properties that made it an ideal material for insulation and fireproofing. According to asbestos.com, Asbestos became an integral part of commercial product manufacturing in the United States in the early 1800s. Its first mainstream use was in the lining of steam engines. From By the early 1900’s through and until the 1970’s, asbestos was considered an ideal material to use by construction, building, and manufacturing industries. Asbestos was easily mined domestically.In fact, and by as early as 1905, the US produced 2,800 tons of asbestosit, all for use at home. Textiles, car parts, tiles, cement, and many other construction and building materials contained asbestos. During WWII, it was widely used in the building of our navy’s ships.
Dangers of Asbestos
Documentation of asbestos related dangers reaches back into the 1800’s, when doctors first acknowledged that asbestos miners were experiencing respiratory problems. By 1907, the first case of the pulmonary disease asbestosis was reported. Later in the 20th century, Mesothelioma and lung cancer became widely associated with asbestos exposure later. The first documented case of mesothelioma linked to exposure was in 1964. As the medical community became more concerned with these diseases, the use of asbestos in products grew at a rapid pace. As its use grew, so did the number of people who developed illnesses.
Asbestos Use Limited By Law
During the 1970s, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Consumer Product Safety Commission passed several acts that prohibited certain uses of asbestos. The Clean Air Act and the Toxic Substances Control Act contained language banning the importing, manufacturing, distribution and processing of certain asbestos-containing products such as specialty paper, cardboard and flooring felt. These acts also prohibited all “new uses” of asbestos. The acts banned its use in spackle, pipe insulation, block insulation, and as a spray on material. In 1986, the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) was signed into law. AHERA requires “schools to inspect their buildings for asbestos and take appropriate abatement actions using qualified, accredited persons for inspection and abatement.”
Currently, if a material contains less than 1% asbestos, it is considered safe even though the EPAUS Environmental Protection Agency classifies asbestos as a class A human carcinogen. Asbestos remains a component of brake pads, clothing, vinyl tiles and other items.
Asbestos Causes Asbestosis, Mesothelioma, and Lung Cancer
People can inhale asbestos because its fibrous nature renders it easily airborne when disturbed. When inhaled, all respiratory functions are at risk for injury. Particles accumulate and settle in the lungs causing serious problems. The risk of developing illness varies with the duration, frequency and concentration of asbestos exposure. Symptoms may not be present for years after your initial exposure. Asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer are the most commonly diagnosed illnesses caused by asbestos. What are they?
Asbestosis. Asbestosis is an inflammatory condition in the lungs.The most common symptom is shortness of breath. Other symptoms may include:
- Persistent cough with discharge mucus
- Chest tightness
- Chest pain
- Dry, crackling noise in the lungs when inhaling
- Loss of appetite
Mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a rare cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, chest cavity or abdomen. Asbestos is the leading cause and risk factor for this aggressive cancer. The main symptoms of mesothelioma of the lungs are:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
Abdominal mesothelioma may be characterized by:
- Weight loss
- Swelling and pain in the abdomen
- Blood clotting abnormalities
- Bowel obstruction
Lung cancer. Lung cancer, tumors, plaque, and fluid buildup may also result from asbestos exposure. Symptoms of lung cancer can include:
- Cough (including coughing up blood)
- Unexplained weight loss
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Persistent chest pain
Who Is Responsible?
Documents show that employers and manufacturers knew the dangers of asbestos exposure for decades of the dangers of asbestos yet continued to expose workers and the public to the risk of grave illness. The large number of reported illnesses did result in regulatory legislation, but the United States has not banned asbestos products. Some countries have completely banned its use because of its known toxicity, but others continue to mine and export the dangerous material.
Despite the acknowledged dangers of asbestos, it can be difficult to pinpoint the party who may be responsible for your injuries. The manufacturer, your employer, and the property owner of your work site may share some of the blame. Attorneys like the ones at Farris, Riley & Pitt have experience representing people with asbestos related injuries such as lung cancer and mesothelioma clients and can help you to navigate a claim or lawsuit to recover damages.
Does this Need Statute of Limitations Paragraph?
Injuries from asbestos can take years to manifest. You may not have the stamina to face the challenges of a lawsuit or a claim when you have trouble breathing or are in pain. You may not be sure when you were exposed to asbestos or who the correct parties are to contact for information. Let us help. Asbestos and mesothelioma attorneys at Farris, Riley & Pitt know how to proceed when you have been hurt by asbestos exposure. We know how to obtain monetary damages for your medical expenses and pain and suffering. If you or a loved one is suffering because of asbestos exposure, contact our Alabama offices.