Persons exposed to the fibrous mineral have filed lawsuits over damage it allegedly caused them decades after exposure.
What Is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral consisting of fibrous crystals. In the 19th century, industries began using it as an insulator, particularly in homes. As knowledge of asbestos’s side effects became better-known, its use declined, and over the ensuing decades many people who had inhaled asbestos fibers sued the manufacturers of asbestos products. The first lawsuits began in the late 1920s, and they accelerated rapidly in the 1970s. There is a standing asbestos multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Eastern Pennsylvania. As of 2013, more than 6,000 cases were pending in the MDL (out of nearly 200,000 over its history). Even today, plaintiffs can obtain jury verdicts in the tens of millions of dollars.
Asbestos Might Cause Lung Cancer, Mesothelioma, and Other Fatal Side Effects
Medical science has known for some time that asbestos can cause three specific conditions: asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma.
People who work with asbestos for long periods of time or in high concentrations, often in occupations involving manufacturing materials containing asbestos, sometimes develop asbestosis. The condition is an inflammation or scarring of lung tissue caused by inhaling asbestos. Symptoms include:
- Dyspnea (shortness of breath)
- Permanent lung damage
- Respiratory failure
- Right-sided heart failure
Asbestosis can take decades to manifest, and it is untreatable.
People who are exposed to asbestos and who also smoke are at greater risk for developing lung cancer than those who only smoke. When the thin fluid-filled membranes surrounding the lungs (called “pleura”) become diseased due to asbestos inhalation, lung cancer might result.
Mesothelioma is a rare type of lung cancer that is almost always caused by asbestos inhalation. It occurs when the mesothelium, the membrane surrounding the lungs, becomes cancerous. Other affected tissues can include those in the abdominal cavity or in the sac surrounding the heart. Unlike with asbestos-induced lung cancer, the risk of mesothelioma is not increased by smoking. Symptoms of mesothelioma include:
- A cough that worsens over time
- Blood coughed up from the lungs
- Pain or tightening in the chest
- Difficulty swallowing
- Swelling of the face or neck
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
As with asbestosis, there is usually a decades-long latency period between the initial inhalation of asbestos and a diagnosis of mesothelioma, but the condition is often fatal within a year of diagnosis.
RLG’s Lawyers Will Make Things Easier
The process of demanding compensation for the harm you’ve suffered can be complicated, even if it doesn’t seem fair that you should have to go through even more trouble to be made whole again. The lawyers at the Rottenstein Law Group believe that obtaining legal satisfaction from those who harmed you shouldn’t require more hardship. That’s why we do everything we can to streamline the process, and we will file an asbestos lawsuit on your behalf if necessary.
If you believe asbestos harmed you or a loved one, contact RLG today.