Asbestos refers to a variety of natural, silicate minerals comprised of distinctly thin and fibrous crystals. Translated from Greek to mean “inextinguishable,” asbestos is especially malleable, heat-resistant and chemical-resistant and, therefore, has been used for centuries in a number of different applications.

Along with being used in brake shoes, asbestos has also been used in:

  • building insulation
  • caulk
  • cement
  • certain fabric weaves and blends
  • electric oven wiring
  • fireproof blankets and clothing
  • vinyl flooring

While the early Greeks saw asbestos as a flexible, resilient and extremely useful textile, by the 20th century, the negative health effects of asbestos were widely recognized, triggering a ban on the material in many countries.

Health Effects of Asbestos Exposure

Over time, inhaling asbestos particles can cause:

  • asbestosis, a chronic lung disease that is non-cancerous. Shortness of breath and wheezing are symptoms of asbestosis.
  • lung cancer, a potentially fatal lung disease marked by coughing, breathing problems and anemia. Those who regularly use asbestos products or who work closely with unrefined asbestos are at a high risk of developing asbestos-related lung cancer.
  • mesothelioma, a rare type of cancer affecting the abdomen, the lungs or the heart. The development of mesothelioma is directly related to asbestos exposure. Because mesothelioma can take years to develop, protecting small children from asbestos exposure is especially important.

Keep in mind that certain lifestyle habits, such as smoking, can increase your chances of developing health problems as the result of asbestos exposure.

Asbestos Lawyers and Lawsuits

Asbestos lawsuits have cost more money and have persisted longer than most other class action lawsuits in the U.S. While thousands of litigants have already received compensation for their asbestos-related health problems, experts predict that these numbers will only increase in the coming decade, as far more people are diagnosed with asbestos cancer and other diseases.

As a result, if you or someone you love has developed asbestos lung cancer or some other asbestos-related condition (or your loved one has died from a disease caused by asbestos exposure), consulting a lawyer is a good idea. A personal injury lawyer who specializes in asbestos cases can:

  • determine whether you are entitled to compensation
  • pull together evidence to help you win your claim
  • seek out others with similar claims to build a class-action lawsuit (and potentially get you a bigger settlement)
  • help you get enough money to pay your medical bills or your loved one’s funeral expenses

To learn more about your legal rights and options, contact an experience Mesothelioma lawyer at our firm today.

Published November 17, 2011 by