Since the industrial revolution the useful nature of asbestos has made it a common component in many consumer and industrial products.  Workers in different industries and trades from consumer products to industrial manufacturing may have been unknowingly placed in contact with asbestos.  The microscopic particles in asbestos are inadvertently digest or inhaled, impairing lung functions and slowly poisoning the individual.  The United States department of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), stated that it is aware of no case in which exposure to a toxic substance has more clearly demonstrated deleterious health effects than has asbestos exposure.  Chicago Asbestos Attorney, Steven J. Grace offers free consultations regarding many issues relating to asbestos and mesothelioma.

Asbestos

From 1940-1970 an estimated 27.5 million Americans have been exposed to Asbestos in their workplace.  Each year 10,000 workers die from this completely avoidable problem. Diseases related to asbestos exposure include but are not limited to:

  • Asbestosis
  • Heart Disease
  • Lung Cancer
  • Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma cancer is the result of prolonged exposure to microscopic asbestos fibers usually affecting a person who has worked extensively with Asbestos products. In addition there may be other toxic inhalants present such as: coal, ash, silica, dust and other gases and fumes although these particulars do not necessarily cause mesothelioma. These specific asbestos fibers cause a rare form of cancer, resulting in the formation of a protective lining that can envelope the lungs and the heart.  The symptoms of mesothelioma do not present themselves immediately and usually continue to remain undiagnosed until years after the asbestos exposure.  There have been no other causes attributed to Mesothelioma besides asbestos, and this includes smoking. Chicago’s cold weather and position as a national industrial hub has regrettably made asbestos the insulation of choice for many employers and developers.  There have been 600,000 liability claims against businesses that placed their employees in contact with asbestos since 1970.   The Environmental Working Group (EWG) estimated that 1,291-2,201 Illinois residents died from Mesothelioma between 1979-2,000.  Since the federal government began tracking cases of mesothelioma this number has continued to rise.

Causes of Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos. The cancer itself occurs in the mesothelium, a membrane that forms the lining of multiple body cavities and organs. Typically, the cancers is caused by exposure to asbestos, through inhalation of the fibers through into the lungs through the mouth and nose.

Commonly, there is a long latency period between the actual exposure to the asbestos and the development of the mesothelioma cancer, making it very difficult to trace the source of the exposure to asbestos. In addition, there may be other ailments in addition to mesothelioma present such as Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD) that have been diagnosed. In the past, asbestos was used in a wide variety of industrial and commercial products in the United States. Blue collar workers in a variety of occupations and industries such as: construction, manufacturing and shipbuilding were exposed to asbestos on a daily basis.

In 1980 Congress passed regulations designed to enforce safety protections for workers who were commonly exposed to asbestos on the job. But, prior to this law, people were exposed to asbestos outside of the workplace, whether by living close to an asbestos mine, or by having it used as insulation in one’s apartment or home.

If you believe you have been exposed to asbestos it is very important to seek medical attention immediately. If you believe that you may have been exposed it is important to determine what are the mesothelioma risk factors, what the prognosis will be if you are diagnosed with mesothelioma and what type of doctor you should be consulting to receive a mesothelioma diagnosis.

If you or family member have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or other medical problems as a result of asbestos exposure you are entitled to compensation for your emotional and physical suffering.

Call (312) 493-6912 to speak with a mesothelioma attorney immediately and to explore your legal options.