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At the beginning

Some of our North Carolina readers are new to the subject of asbestos and the havoc it can wreak in a person's life. So let's briefly recap what asbestos is and what it can do.

As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes on its website, asbestos is not the name of a mineral, as many people believe. It is instead the name of commercial products that include "six naturally occurring fibrous minerals."

The minerals called asbestos commercially have several qualities in common: resistance to heat and chemical degradation, flexibility and high tensile strength. Those qualities prompted makers of insulation, motor vehicle brakes, textiles, cement, fireproofing and drywall to incorporate the minerals into their products. However, when asbestos is handled, it separates into easily inhaled microscopic particles.

Exposure to the asbestos particles can result in a number of "life-threatening diseases, including asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma," the CDC states.

The prognosis for people with asbestos-caused lung diseases depends on which disease the person contracted and how much the condition has damaged their lungs. There is no treatment that can reverse the damage, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute says.

But there are treatments that can slow the advance of disease, relieve symptoms and help prevent complications. If you have been exposed to asbestos, talk with a doctor about determining the extent of possible damage.

In order to find out about your legal options, you can speak with an attorney experienced in asbestos litigation; a lawyer with a track record of obtaining favorable verdicts in litigation and favorable settlements in negotiation.

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