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How Much Asbestos Exposure Can Lead to Mesothelioma?

What to Know If You Have Been Exposed to Asbestos

Exposure to mesothelioma is the primary risk factor for developing mesothelioma, a dangerous and deadly form of cancer. Whether you were directly exposed to asbestos or lived with someone who worked closely with asbestos, you may be at an increased risk of developing the cancer. 

If you or your loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you need to speak with an attorney. At Bailey Cowan Heckaman, we represent mesothelioma victims nationwide. Our lawyers have secured over $2 billion in verdicts and settlements for our clients. We know the devastation that asbestos exposure can cause and will not rest until justice is served. Contact our office today to schedule a free consultation. 

Understanding Asbestos Exposure

According to the Cleveland Clinic, around 3,000 Americans are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year. Of those, approximately 90% are related to asbestos exposure. It is believed that millions of people have been directly or indirectly exposed to asbestos and asbestos fibers over the past century.

Industries with the Highest Risk of Asbestos Poisoning

While you may be exposed to asbestos in any profession, certain industries have a higher risk of asbestos exposure.

Industries with the highest risk of asbestos poisoning:

  • Shipbuilders, merchant marines, and longshoremen
  • Construction and maintenance workers
  • Demolition crews
  • Manufacturing (steel, sand, and abrasives)
  • Fabric milling
  • Railroad construction
  • Ironworkers and welders
  • Auto repair shops and tire installation
  • Miners and refinery workers
  • Painters and plasterers
  • Pipefitters, roofers, and plumbers

In addition to the workers who were exposed as part of their employment, many family members were also exposed. Unbeknownst to the worker, they would carry asbestos fibers on their clothes, in their hair, and on their skin. The fibers would be transferred to loved ones, causing secondary exposure. The contamination usually occurred for decades without anyone knowing.

What Is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring group of six mineral fibers. The fibers have been used for decades in a variety of industries because of their versatility, strength, and ability to resist fire and chemicals. Asbestos was commonly used in insulation, fireproofing, soundproofing, and to strengthen products like cements and plastics. The widespread use of asbestos-containing products exposed millions of people to the dangerous cancer-causing fibers.

Undisturbed, asbestos is not dangerous. However, when the fibers are released into the air, they can break into tiny particles. The particles can then be ingested or inhaled. When asbestos particles are ingested or inhaled, they can collect in the lungs, resulting in inflammation. Over time, the collection of particles can cause a number of deadly conditions, including lung cancer, mesothelioma, and pleural effusions.

Mesothelioma and Asbestos Exposure

It is well documented that asbestos exposure is a leading risk factor in developing mesothelioma. As explained by the Mayo Clinic, mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer that develops in the thin layer of tissue surrounding your internal organs. While there are treatments available, there is no cure for the disease. 

There are two types of mesothelioma: pleural mesothelioma and peritoneal mesothelioma. The most common type of mesothelioma is pleural mesothelioma, which affects the tissues surrounding the lungs.

It is important to note that it may take decades after the initial exposure to asbestos for mesothelioma to develop. Many people do not realize that they have the condition until they develop a complication such as difficulty breathing or chest pain. 

How Are Workers Exposed to Mesothelioma Today?

Today, as noted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, individuals in the construction industry are the most heavily exposed to asbestos. Asbestos-containing products were frequently used in construction. Construction workers are also exposed to asbestos when tearing down old structures that have not received abatement.

First responders and military personnel are also prone to asbestos exposure. Many individuals who were at the site of the World Trade Centers when they collapsed had “acute short-term basis” to particulates that contained asbestos. 

What Are the Risk Factors for Developing Mesothelioma?

Asbestos exposure is the primary risk factor for developing mesothelioma, but how long and how much asbestos you were exposed to may make a difference. Your chances of contracting an asbestos-related condition increase substantially if you were exposed to a higher dose of asbestos over a long period of time. Dose and duration may impact whether you develop a disease.

Furthermore, the source of the exposure and the size and shape of the individual asbestos fibers may also make a difference. It is important to note, however, that any exposure to asbestos may be dangerous. Asbestos has been classified as a carcinogen, meaning it is a substance believed to cause cancer in humans.

Quantifying Asbestos Exposure

If you were exposed to asbestos and subsequently developed an asbestos-related condition such as mesothelioma, you might be able to file a legal claim for damages. It is essential to work with an experienced attorney to determine your rights and the best way to move forward with your case.

Individuals who may be able to file a claim based on asbestos exposure:

  • You developed mesothelioma after occupational exposure to asbestos.
  • You developed mesothelioma after secondary exposure/
  • You are the loved one or representative of an estate belonging to someone who passed from mesothelioma. 

It is alleged that many employers and manufacturers knew of the risk of asbestos exposure but did not warn their employees or customers. In some cases, it is believed that companies hid the dangers of asbestos exposure from the public. 

Lawsuits have been filed across the country, ensuring that manufacturers of asbestos-containing products are held accountable for their wrongdoing. If you developed any adverse health condition related to asbestos exposure it is strongly recommended that you speak to an attorney as soon as possible.

Legal Implications

If you were exposed to asbestos and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be eligible to take legal action. It does not matter that the exposure occurred decades before as long as the condition was not discovered until recently. 

As soon as you receive a diagnosis, you need to speak with an attorney about your rights. You only have a limited amount of time to file a claim based on asbestos poisoning. Failing to file a lawsuit within the statute of limitations may result in your claim being denied or dismissed. 

Choosing Proper Representation

A mesothelioma diagnosis can be overwhelming and terrifying. You may not know how you are going to pay for your medical bills or get the treatments you need. By retaining legal counsel, you can focus on healing instead of the lawsuit. 

At Bailey Cowan Heckaman, we have over 60 years of experience helping victims secure recoveries against negligent manufacturers, employers, and more. We have recovered multiple multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements on behalf of mesothelioma victims nationwide. We have a long record of success and will not rest until you receive the best possible outcome in your case.

Bailey Cowan Heckaman Law Office

Were you or a loved one diagnosed with mesothelioma? Contact our office to schedule a free consultation. Our lawyers have helped countless victims who have been exposed to asbestos secure financial recovery for their damages. We know the law and will not rest until you receive the best possible outcome in your case. Get the legal help you need now.

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