Asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral that has remarkable fire and heat resistant properties that made it valuable as an insulation material. Asbestos literally translates to mean "indistinguishable." Dating as far back as ancient Greece and Rome, asbestos was used as a building material, and even in fabrics for clothing. It earned the nickname "the magic mineral."
As industry developed in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, asbestos use grew widespread in factories, chemical plants, on railroad cars and in shipyards. Asbestos later entered the construction industry, primarily as insulation material, but not exclusively. Materials containing asbestos were also used in cement, roofing shingles, floor tiles, and in siding.
In the 1970s, studies were published indicating a causal link between asbestos and mesothelioma. In reaction, the federal government banned the use of asbestos. Only later, an investigation revealed that asbestos makers knew that the material caused cancer since the 1940s and actively worked to keep it quiet.
Workers who were exposed to airborne asbestos particles are at the highest risk of developing mesothelioma. Prolonged asbestos exposure over a period of years is also highly correlated with high rates of mesothelioma. Workers from certain professions at a higher risk for mesothelioma include:
- Building construction
- Demolition workers
- Drywall, carpet and roof removers
- Asbestos abatement workers
- HVAC technicians
- Manufacture of asbestos textiles or other products containing the mineral
Most often, mesothelioma results from occupational asbestos exposure, but even secondhand asbestos exposure has been known to cause the disease. Workers subjected to asbestos exposure brought it home to their families in their clothing, in their hair, and on their shoes. Women who inhaled asbestos fibers from doing their husband's laundry have developed mesothelioma and asbestosis.
Due to its prevalence as a building material, many homes built prior to the 1970's contain asbestos. If you do any renovations of your home and you suspect there may be asbestos present, hire an asbestos expert to investigate that possibility and remove it safely.
On September 11, 2001, first responders as well as residents and workers in lower Manhattan were exposed to the fumes from the 400 tons of asbestos used to build the World Trade Center. Several individuals have already passed away from mesothelioma as a result of asbestos exposure on 9/11.
Since it can take decades from the first date of asbestos exposure until symptoms manifest into mesothelioma, around 3,000 people a year are diagnosed with mesothelioma in the United States.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma after asbestos exposure in Virginia, contact the law firm of Allen & Allen for a free consultation at 866-388-1307.
You need a mesothelioma lawyer who will handle your mesothelioma case with compassion and dedication. Our team can guide you and your family through these complex legal issues and help to maximize your recovery.