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Did you know?
The name Asbestos was given to this mineral by the Ancient Greeks. The word “Asbestos” literally means inextinguishable.
Asbestos is made up of microscopic fibers that may become airborne when asbestos containing materials and products are damaged or disturbed.
Most asbestos fibers are invisible to the unaided human eye because their size. When asbestos fibers get into the air they may be inhaled into the lungs or swallowed into he digestive system where they can cause significant health problems. The word "asbestos" is derived from a Greek adjective meaning inextinguishable.
There are three most commonly used types of asbestos: white, brown, and blue. Brown and blue asbestos are most commonly associated with mesothelioma.
Six minerals are defined as "asbestos" including: chrysotile, amosite, crocidolite, tremolite, anthophyllite and actinolite.
Asbestos was used in many products that were made for protection from heat and flame. This included clothing, such as gloves, to stuffing asbestos insulation into electrical conduit, to using asbestos to make fire proof cloth for use in power plants or petroleum refineries.
Asbestos also has excellent insulation and noise deadening qualities. Asbestos was used in many construction products, including floor and ceiling tiles and wall board. Any home built before 1978 probably contains asbestos somewhere.
NEW ASBESTOS CASES
It has been well documented for many years that asbestos exposure can result in the development of deadly cancers, particularly Mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma has a latency period of 20 to 50 years after the first exposure to asbestos. It is estimated that there will be about 250,000 cases of Mesothelioma before 2020.
There are currently about 3000 new cases of Mesothelioma diagnosed per year, mostly in men over the age of 40. About 4,000 People die from Mesothelioma every year, the rare cancer caused by asbestos exposure. During the 20th century, some 30 million tons of asbestos were used in industrial sites, homes, schools, shipyards and commercial buildings in the U. S.
Through 2003, more than 700,000 People have filed claims against more than 6,000 Asbestos companies. These same companies knew of the dangers for many years before ever warning the public of those risks. It is thought that around eight million people in the United States have been exposed to asbestos over the past half a century, and many more cases - are expected to be reported in the next 25 years.
The National Institute of Health in 1978 estimated that eight to eleven million U.S. workers had been exposed to asbestos by that date. In fact, by 1970, it is estimated that some 25 million tons of asbestos were used in the U.S.
ASBESTOS AND MESOTHELIOMA
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos. Mesothelioma cancer comes from inhaling or digesting asbestos dust particles. Mesothelioma is a life-threatening disease and should not be left untreated. Most cases of mesothelioma begin in the pleura or peritoneum.
Mesothelioma cancer occurs in the thin layer of tissue that covers your internal organs (mesothelium). The mesothelium is a membrane that covers and protects most of the internal organs of the body. It is composed of two layers of cells: One layer immediately surrounds the organ; the other forms a sac around it.
The mesothelium produces a lubricating fluid that is released between these layers, allowing moving organs (such as the beating heart and the expanding and contracting lungs) to glide easily against adjacent structures.
Mesothelioma is most common in the pleura (outer lining of the lungs and chest cavity), but it may also occur in the peritoneum (the lining of the abdominal cavity) or the pericardium (a sac that surrounds the heart).
Most people who develop mesothelioma have worked on jobs where they inhaled asbestos particles, or they have been exposed to asbestos dust and fibre in other ways, such as by washing the clothes of a family member who worked with asbestos.
There are funds available for asbestos victims.
Millions of Americans and people all over the world have been poisoned by toxic levels of asbestos, putting them at risk for mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer, and other deadly diseases that are directly caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibers.
Before the grave dangers of asbestos were known, and even for years after the dangers were known, asbestos was used in literally thousands of products that humans and animals encounter every day — particularly in building components such as ceiling and floor tiles, walls, bricks and stucco, and in automotive parts such as brakes and clutches.
People who worked in the asbestos industry or in fields in which asbestos is used as a component of a product are most at risk for mesothelioma. Many individuals who have mesothelioma labored for years or even decades in jobs that required frequent contact with asbestos. When this mineral is mined, processed, woven, sprayed or otherwise manipulated, its microscopic fibers can be released into the air, where they may be inhaled, initiating the development of mesothelioma.
Asbestos exposure occurs when the asbestos that is in the products becomes damaged. Once damaged, the asbestos fibers are released into the air. The fibers are microscopic, smaller even than a grain of pollen, and invisible to the naked eye. The asbestos fibers, if inhaled or ingested, can become lodged into the body where it can create severe medical problems.
Approximately 100,000 people in the United States have died, or will die, from asbestos exposure related to ship building.
There were approximately 4.3 million shipyard workers in the United States during WWII; for every thousand workers about 14 died of mesothelioma and an unknown number died from asbestosis.
Occupations that have high rates of asbestos exposure include ship builders, oil refinery workers, steel workers, power plant workers, Navy shipyards, pipe fitters, auto workers, railroad workers and construction workers.
Asbestos symptoms include shortness of breath due to pleural effusion (fluid between the lung and the chest wall) or chest wall pain, and general symptoms such as weight loss
Asbestos Signs and Symptoms:
- abdominal pain
- bowel function problems
- chest wall pain
- weight loss
- pleural effusion, or fluid surrounding the lung
- shortness of breath
- fatigue or anemia
- wheezing, hoarseness, or cough
- blood in the sputum (fluid) coughed up (hemoptysis)
Asbestos Signs and Symptoms in Severe Cases:
- blood clots in the veins, which may cause thrombophlebitis
- disseminated intravascular coagulation, a disorder causing severe bleeding in many body organs
- jaundice, or yellowing of the eyes and skin
- low blood sugar level
- pleural effusion
- pulmonary emboli, or blood clots in the arteries of the lungs
- severe ascites
Asbestosis is a scarring of lung tissue caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibers. A portion of the fibers reach the alveoli (air sacs) where oxygen is transferred into the blood. Asbestos activates the lung's immune system and starts a reaction best described as an inflammatory process. Scavenger white blood cells (macrophages) try to break down the asbestos (phagocytosis) but are not successful, causing other cells (fibroblasts) to grow and form connective-tissue-based scars.
The formation of scar tissue or collagen in the lungs is known as fibrosis. The scar tissue slowly builds up, often reducing the lung's ability to deliver oxygen to the blood and remove carbon dioxide (reduced diffusion capacity). The total lung capacity or TLC may also be reduced. In severe cases, the impairment of lung function can strain the heart, or even result in heart disease, such as right-sided heart failure or "cor pulmonale."
Asbestosis and the Inflammatory Process
The inflammatory process starts within hours or days after inhalation of asbestos and injury at the cellular level begins shortly thereafter. In people who develop asbestosis, the inflammatory process continues to progress, fueled by indestructible asbestos fibers, even after exposure to asbestos ceases.
This asbestosis inflammatory process may continue undetected for decades causing no pain or respiratory symptoms. In many people, the process eventually produces symptoms-breathing abnormalities and radiographic changes. Usually, the first symptoms are shortness of breath and a dry cough. These symptoms often precede abnormalities on chest x-ray or pulmonary function tests. The period between exposure and diagnosis is called "latency" and may range from 10 to 50 years.
Asbestosis is a chronic inflammation of the lungs. The inflammation is a direct result of exposure to asbestos. Asbestosis is a progressive disease with no cure. The inflammation causes shortness of breath, which will get progressively worse as the disease progresses. Physicians can treat some of the symptoms of asbestosis with auxiliary oxygen, but it will not cure the disease. Death due to asbestosis occurs by respiratory failure.
ASBESTOS AND SMOKING
Unlike lung cancer, there is no association between mesothelioma and asbestos cancer and smoking.
Smoking does not appear to increase the risk of mesothelioma and asbestos. However, the combination of smoking and asbestos exposure significantly increases a person’s risk of developing cancer of the lungs.
The Kent brand of cigarettes used asbestos in its filters for the first few years of production in the 1950s and some cases of mesothelioma and asbestos have resulted. Smoking modern cigarettes does not appear to increase the risk of mesothelioma and asbestos.
The combination of smoking and asbestos exposure significantly increases a person's risk of developing cancer of the airways (lung cancer, bronchial carcinoma).
If you do smoke, stop. In addition to mesothelioma and asbestosis, there is research that indicates that those who suffer from asbestos exposure and smoke are at a greatly increased risk of developing mesothelioma and asbestos lung cancer.
ASBESTOS HISTORICAL USAGE
The name Asbestos was given to this mineral by the Ancient Greeks. The word “Asbestos” literally means inextinguishable.
The Greeks termed asbestos the "miracle mineral" because of its soft and pliant properties, as well as its ability to withstand heat.
The Greek geographer Strabo and the Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder noted that the material damaged lungs of slaves who wove it into cloth.
Asbestos became increasingly popular among manufacturers and builders in the late 19th century due to its resistance to heat, electricity and chemical damage, its ability to absorb sound.
By the mid 20th century asbestos use included fire retardant coatings, concrete, bricks, pipes and fireplace cement, heat, fire, and acid resistant gaskets, pipe insulation, ceiling insulation, fireproof drywall, flooring, roofing, lawn furniture, and drywall joint compound.
Asbestos has been mined and used commercially since the late 1800s. It was used widely used during World War II.
WHAT YOU NEED TOP KNOW ABOUT ASBESTOS
By 1970, it is estimated that some 25 million tons of asbestos were used in the U.S.
A history of asbestos exposure in the workplace is reported in about 80 percent of all mesothelioma cases.
Eight million people in the United States have been exposed to asbestos over the past half a century.
Studies estimate that approximately 3,000 different types of commercial products include asbestos.
The National Institute of Health in 1978 estimated that eight to eleven million U.S. workers had been exposed to asbestos by that date.
Through 2003, more than 700,000 People had filed claims against more than 6,000 Asbestos companies.
Many building materials used in both public and domestic premises prior to the banning of asbestos may still contain asbestos.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) set limits for acceptable levels of asbestos exposure in the workplace.
In 2005, 2.2 million tons of asbestos were mined worldwide. Russia was the largest producer with about 40% world share followed by China and Kazakhstan.
The first documented death related to asbestos was in 1906. In the early 1900s researchers began to notice a large number of early deaths and lung problems in asbestos mining towns.
The term Mesothelioma was not used in medical literature until 1931, and was not associated with asbestos until sometime in the 1940s.
Asbestos exposure becomes a health concern when high concentrations of asbestos fibers are inhaled over a long time period
Asbestos was used in the first 40 floors of the World Trade Center towers causing an airborne contamination among lower Manhattan after the towers collapsed in the attacks on September 11th, 2001
Inhaled asbestos fibers remain in the body and cannot be expelled. Because of this, the fibers can easily penetrate body tissues and may deposit themselves in airways and in the lung tissue.
It is estimated that 27.5 million Americans were exposed to asbestos between 1940 and 1979.
Mesothelioma has a latency period of 20 to 50 years after the first exposure to asbestos.
Many asbestos-containing products remain in buildings, ships, industrial facilities and other environments where the fibers can become airborne.
Mesothelioma from asbestos occurs more often in men than in women and risk increases with age, but this disease can appear in either men or women at any age.
Family members and others living with asbestos workers have an increased risk of developing mesothelioma, and possibly other asbestos related diseases.
If you are a grieving family member or executor of the will of a person who has died from asbestos-related disease or mesothelioma, you may be eligible to file a claim as well.
The first known asbestos lawsuit was in 1929 in New Jersey.
The first diagnosis of asbestosis was made in England in 1924.
The first known US workers' compensation claim for asbestos disease was in 1927.
Asbestos litigation is the longest, most expensive mass tort in U.S. history, involving more than 8,400 defendants and 730,000 claimants as of 2002 according to the RAND Corporation
Analysts have estimated that the total costs of asbestos litigation in the USA alone is over $250 billion.
In 1999 recorded a whopping 200,000 cases pending in the Federal court system of the United States
It is estimated that within the next 40 years asbestos cases may grow to seven hundred thousand cases. These numbers help explain how there are thousands of current pending cases.
An experienced Asbestos LAWYER understands the unique complexities involved in this kind of litigation lawsuit, including asbestos product identification, specific asbestos-related medical issues, and specific time constraints that narrow the window of opportunity to file a claim. It's important to find the right Asbestos lawyer before your state's statutes of limitations expire, leaving you and your family grieving and empty-handed. There's no time to wait - contact our Asbestos lawyers today for a free case review.
It is not uncommon for there to be 10-20 parties that are named in an Asbestos lawsuit that are located across the United States. For example, a worker in California may have been exposed to asbestos from asbestos products shipped from Libby, Montana or from an iron ore plant in St. Paul Minnesota. This is why it is very important to obtain an experienced Asbestos lawyer knows all of the companies in each state who have responsibility for your asbestos exposure.
We have helped people with Asbestos cancer for more than five years on the Internet. The Asbestos Help Center is designed to give you quick & simple answers about Asbestos treatments, asbestos exposure, Asbestos diagnosis, Asbestos symptoms, Asbestos doctors, and we can refer you to an experienced Asbestos lawyer in who has successfully settled Asbestos cases