Asbestos, Mesothelioma Asbestos & Mesothelioma Facts and Information

  1. Asbestos exposure can lead to mesothelioma cancer in addition to other types of illnesses. Many people who are exposed to asbestos do not become ill or exhibit any symptoms until many years later - in some cases it can take up to 20 years for symptoms to develop. This article will help you understand what asbestos and mesothelioma are, identify the symptoms, and help you understand your rights and whether you may be part of a class action lawsuit to recover money damages for your injury.

    What are Asbestos and mesothelioma?

    Asbestos is a group of six fibrous minerals that are naturally present in our environment that were mined for use in the making of building materials. While the U.S. Bureau of Mines has listed more than 100 mineral fibers occurring in nature, these six minerals are known to cause cancer in humans ("carcionogenic.") The six minerals described as "asbestos" are amosite, chrysotile, crocidolite, tremolite, actinolite, and anthophyllite.

    In the late 19th century, Asbestos became increasingly popular among builders and manufacturers because it has excellent resistance to heat, electricity and chemical damage, has good sound absorption and is very strong. Common uses for asbestos with regard to fire and heat resistance included mixing the asbestos fibers in cement or woven into fabrics and mats. It is also used for fireproofing, roofing, flooring, heat insulation and a variety of other purposes.

    Researchers first began to see an increasing number of asbestos workers who were becoming ill and dying of lung cancer in the 1960s. When it was discovered how dangerous asbestos is to humans, the federal government banned for use of in most products. Exposure to asbestos results in a high risk of developing a rare form of cancer of the chest lining membranes and abdomen. This usually rare form of cancer is called Mesothelioma, the predominant form of cancer that is associated with asbestos exposure.

    Risk of Exposure

    Asbestos dust fibers usually present a problem when airborne and inhaled by humans. The risk of exposure can happen almost anywhere, especially in buildings that have been built out of material containing asbestos - houses, places of employment, schools, construction sites and other places. Older buildings may still have asbestos containing materials that were used during their construction. When the material wears down, fibers are released into the air making exposure to asbestos more likely.

    Products manufactured between the years of 1950 through the mid 1970s frequently contained asbestos. Examples include wallboard, flooring, insulation and even auto brake shoes contained asbestos. People who work with these products have a higher risk of exposure, such as those involved in the demolition of older buildings or removing asbestos containing products like old insulation or floors. Men are more likely to develop mesothelioma than women because they work in professions that have a higher risk to asbestos exposure. Industries that show a higher incidence of asbestos exposure include:
    • Insulators (asbestos workers)
    • Boilermakers
    • Ship-fitters
    • Steel workers
    • Maintenance workers
    • Plumbers
    • Brake mechanics
    When a person is exposed to asbestos at work, he or she may have the particles on their clothing or hair. It is possible to bring these small asbestos particles into their own home after being exposed and the particles could be inhaled by others. If you are a family member of someone in one of the above professions, it is also important for you to go to a medical professional to determine if you have been significantly exposed to asbestos.

    Symptoms of Pleural Mesothelioma

    When early symptoms of pleural mesothelioma begin to develop, it may be misdiagnosed as a form of pneumonia. Pleural Mesothelioma affects the chest cavity and lungs and is very difficult to treat. Symptoms will usually include:
    • Fluid in chest cavity
    • Difficulty breathing
    • Continuing cough
    • Shortness of breath
    • Hoarse voice
    • Trouble swallowing
    • Chest or back pain
    • Feelings of fatigue
    • Weight loss
    • Loss of appetite
    • Fever
    Other lung diseases may develop, such as pleural plaque or thickening of the membrane around the lungs. There can be fluid retention between the tissue lining of the lungs and around the chest cavity, a condition which may lead to lung cancer.

    Symptoms of Peritoneal Mesothelioma and Other Forms

    Peritoneal mesothelioma is another common illness caused by asbestos exposure and it affects the abdomen, bowel, liver and spleen. The "peritoneum" is the membrane that forms the lining of the abdominal cavity in your lower chest and stomach area. Peritoneal mesothelioma is found in about 30% of asbestos illness cases. Excessive build up in the abdominal cavity develops, normal digestion becomes difficult and internal organ functioning is impaired. Symptoms often include:
    • Abdominal pain
    • Swelling in the abdomen
    • Nausea and/or vomiting
    • Weight loss
    • Loss of appetite
    • General fatigue
    • Diarrhea or constipation
    Other rare forms of mesothelioma are found in the lining of the heart, as well as the male and female reproductive organs. Women, more often than men, can develop cystic mesothelioma of the abdomen. There has even been a connection made between gastrointestinal and colorectal cancers and asbestos exposure. There appears to be a higher risk for throat, kidney, and esophagus and gallbladder cancer after being exposed to asbestos.

    Taking Action and Recovering Money Damages for your Injury

    If you have been diagnosed with mesotholioma or have become ill after being exposed to asbestos, contact an asbestos attorney immediately - don't wait. Each state has its own statute of limitation to file an asbestos exposure lawsuit so timing is extremely important. Your attorney will be more informed on asbestos exposure, its consequences and what kind of monetary compensation to which you may be entitled.
    Accident & Injury Law:
    Asbestos Mesothelioma

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    Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler
    Michael M. Wechsler is an experienced attorney, founder of, A. Research Scholar at Columbia Business School and of-counsel to Kaplan, Williams & Graffeo, LLC. He was also an SVP and chief Internet strategist at and legal consultant at Kroll Ontrack, a leading service e-discovery and computer forensics service provider.


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