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Mesothelioma as an Industrial Disease

July 1, 2019

If you’ve watched television in the last 10 years, you’ve more than likely seen advertisements regarding mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a particularly nasty form of cancer that attacks the thin layer of tissue covering most of your organs, though it usually is found in the lungs. There is no cure for mesothelioma patients and sufferers, only treatment. It is caused by prolonged exposure to asbestos, an effective insulator. There are six types of asbestos that were once highly popular as insulators decades ago, yet as time and medical knowledge progressed, they were found to be highly toxic causing a number of occupational diseases. Our expertly trained Colorado Springs personal injury attorneys at Kinnaird Law are well versed in industrial diseases caused by asbestos and can guide you through attaining a settlement.

Prolonged exposure to asbestos in a work environment will have detrimental effects on your health. Workers in professions such as home contractors and renovators, construction workers, and firefighters are especially prone to asbestos exposure and therefore highly susceptible to mesothelioma. It can take decades for mesothelioma to develop after inhaling dust created by asbestos, making seeking financial compensation for the occupational hazard a confusing process. However, the moment you develop any symptoms, such as coughing, shortness of breath, or strange lumps under your chest, you should consult your primary care physician to investigate and attain a diagnosis. If you or a friend or loved one who has been exposed to asbestos in their workplace is diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is imperative to contact a Colorado Springs personal injury attorney, including our expert Kinnaird Law attorneys, to begin the settlement process.

The United States has heavily regulated, but not outright banned, the use of asbestos in products. As long as any manufactured product contains less than 1% asbestos, a popular fiber that is heat, electricity, and chemical corrosion resistant, it is legal. When the material is disturbed, it releases microscopic dust particles that are easily inhaled or ingested. In addition to causing mesothelioma, asbestos exposure can lead to asbestosis, a chronic lung disease that can lead to lung tissue scarring and cancer development. Also like mesothelioma, symptoms may not develop for years to decades after initial exposure.

There is a new occupation that is seeing mesothelioma cases due to asbestos exposure that is currently taking over headlines: Navy personnel. The Mesothelioma Victims Center is currently urging all Navy veterans who have been diagnosed with the disease to contact an attorney before the sickness rapidly develops, as it is prone and known to do. If you or a loved one served in the Navy and were diagnosed with mesothelioma, there are a few questions to ask yourself to prepare for the road ahead.

  • When did your exposure to asbestos first occur? Was it while serving in the Navy, or before?

  • What was your role in the Navy? Were you required to work in an engine room, or any location where asbestos would be located?

  • Were you stationed on a ship that underwent a renovation, otherwise known as an overhaul, where you could have been exposed to asbestos dust in the air?

  • Is it possible you were exposed to asbestos again after your service had ended and you re-entered civilian life? When could this have occurred and how?

  • Can you name any fellow officers, veterans, or individuals who were with you, or knew of your contact, with asbestos? Are you able to contact them?

If you are not a Navy veteran, but one of the other professions we mentioned, these questions also apply to you. Contractors and construction workers are particularly susceptible to asbestos exposure. Watch any home renovation show and odds are that an older home undergoing structural changes will have asbestos used as insulation, delaying all work done. Asbestos removal crews are called in and the house is quarantined while they work to ensure no one can breathe in any dust from it. However, it is entirely likely that anyone working in the home was exposed to the dust and inhaled it prior to discovering the asbestos – there is no knowing how much of that dust was floating in the air.

Asbestos, if left alone, is relatively safe; when it is disturbed, it is incredibly dangerous to be around. Homes constructed before 1980 often have asbestos as insulation, on/around pipes, and as part of shingles. Many homes still have asbestos and will not need to have it removed, assuming there is no renovation planned. If you just bought a home with asbestos, you don’t need to worry as long as the home inspector cleared its safety. If you plan on doing renovations and are aware of asbestos in your home, you must hire a removal crew; while not a small fee, it’s not overly expensive.

If you believe that you may encounter asbestos exposure in your line of work, it is important to discuss it with your boss/employer to find out if you are in danger of exposure. You can then begin to discuss your protection options, such as respiratory masks, wearing protective gear, or changing into a spare set of clothes from your work uniform at the end of the day. Be proactive in your protection from asbestos exposure to avoid developing mesothelioma, or any other asbestos related disease, later in life.

Asbestosis and mesothelioma are terrible diseases to be affected by, as a victim, or as a friend / relative to a victim. If you believe you have ever been exposed to asbestos, consult your doctor immediately. Afterward, consider contacting a Kinnaird Law Colorado Springs personal injury attorney. Give us a call, or stop by our office, to discuss the legal action you can take if you developed asbestosis, or mesothelioma, as a result of an occupational hazard in the workplace and your career. These industrial diseases can develop and worsen rapidly, so time is often of the essence. Call us today for more information on how we can assist you through this difficult time.