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Years may pass before damage from asbestos exposure manifests

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, asbestos is defined as being "naturally occurring minerals that are resistant to heat and corrosion." Due to the accessibility and durability of asbestos, materials containing the minerals were and continue to be used in many building and automotive materials. As people became aware of the dangers related to the exposure and inhalation of asbestos, federal agencies such as OSHA took steps to protect workers.

Sadly, likely millions of U.S. workers were exposed to dangerous asbestos materials prior to the enaction of asbestos safety policies. When exposed to asbestos, it can take decades before an individual may notice or experience any adverse health effects. It can, therefore, sometimes be difficult to trace when or where the exposure occurred.

Individuals who work in certain industries are more prone to being exposed to and suffering the ill effects of asbestos. One man, who for years worked as a carpenter and at Texaco Corp., recently filed an asbestos lawsuit. According to the lawsuit, throughout the course of his employment, the plaintiff contends he was exposed to asbestos materials which lead to the development of lung cancer. Companies named as defendants in the lawsuit include Ford Motor Co. and Caterpillar Inc. The man is seeking to recover $50,000 in damages.

U.S. workers who were unknowingly exposed to dangerous asbestos materials may subsequently suffer adverse health effects including lung cancer, including mesothelioma, and other respiratory issues. These individuals are forced to endure the emotional and physical pain associated with their medical conditions and deserve compensation from those parties who failed to warn or protect them against asbestos exposure.

Source: The Madison-St. Clair Record, "Asbestos suit filed in St. Clair County by former Texaco worker," May 22, 2014U.S. Labor Department, "OSHA: Asbestos," 2014

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