Asbestos Exposure in the Workplace
Although the practical properties of asbestos had been noted by numerous historians and geographers since ancient times, their exploitation only became popular after the Industrial Revolution. Because the use of asbestos was unprecedentedly widespread between 1940 and 1978, the U.S. National Institutes of Health estimates that up to 11 million employees were exposed to this carcinogenic mineral in the workplace during that period. Despite being well-aware of the serious health hazard asbestos exposure implies, manufacturing companies went to incredible lengths to hide compromising scientific information from both workers and consumers. As a consequence, more and more people began developing terrible illnesses such as lung cancer or mesothelioma after several decades of exposure.
Today, the effects of asbestos exposure are still a topical issue, as every year, over 12,000 Americans lose their lives to asbestos-related diseases, while 3,000 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed. The vast majority of individuals who struggle with the aftermath of asbestos exposure would regularly breathe in toxic airborne fibers in occupational settings. Over 75 occupational groups were heavily exposed to asbestos during the past century, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Veterans have also come in contact with high concentrations of airborne asbestos while serving in the U.S. Military, particularly those who were in the Navy, hence this group represents 30% of mesothelioma patients.
The victims of occupational asbestos exposure are eligible for financial compensation. If you are diagnosed with a disease which ensued as a result of workplace asbestos exposure, we strongly encourage you to contact us at 760-208-4196 or by filing out the form in the Contact section and we will promptly direct you to some useful resources. Not only will taking legal action provide you with financial compensation, which can help you pay for your treatment and grant you access to higher-quality medical care, but it will also hold the responsible company liable for their neglectful actions.
Which Occupational Groups Are at High Risk of Developing Asbestos-Related Diseases?
Since asbestos was so common before the 1980s, it would be present in a large number of industries, from shipbuilding to chemical, either as a raw material or in various products employees would carelessly handle. However, some occupations entail a higher risk of exposure than others, as workers would often be in contact with astounding concentrations of airborne fibers. Therefore, if you had one of the following jobs between 1935 and 1978, we advise you to look out for early symptoms like chest pain, a persistent cough or shortness of breath, which may indicate the onset of a disease:
- boiler workers
- construction workers
- chemical plant workers
- power plant workers
- auto mechanics
- asbestos miners
- oil refinery workers
- paper mill workers
- automotive workers
- shipyard workers
- railroad workers
- textile mill workers
- sheet metal workers
- steel workers
If you have a history of occupational asbestos exposure and experience one or more of the typical signs associated with asbestos-related diseases, please seek medical attention immediately. Keep in mind that these illnesses occur only after 15 to 50 years of first exposure and often do not cause clear, distressing symptoms, which is why an overwhelming number of asbestos victims receive a diagnosis when their condition is very advanced. To be on the safe side, we also recommend undergoing a medical examination consisting in a chest X-ray, a series of pulmonary function tests, and a CT scan annually. In the case that a disease affects your lungs, early detection can greatly improve your prognosis and might even save your life.