We know that asbestos exposure can lead to all manner of health complications, including cancers like mesothelioma, ovarian cancer and lung cancer. These can be fatal. People are careful to limit their exposure to try to stay safe and healthy for years to come.
However, none of this happens overnight. One of the main problems that makes this so complicated is that there are long timelines and delayed results. People may not even realize that they are getting exposed or just how harmful it is at the moment that it is happening.
The latency period
First off, let's look at the standard latency period. This is the amount of time that it takes after exposure to asbestos before you actually develop cancer. The average, experts note, ranges from 20 to 30 years.
So, if you used talcum powder that contained asbestos extensively in your 20s, you may not actually see the ramifications until you are in your 50s or even older. It's not as if you get sick immediately after use. This is why people often face prolonged exposure. They are doing irreparable harm to their bodies, but they have no idea that it's happening.
The length of exposure that is needed to have these ramifications also varies. Technically, you want to avoid even a single exposure. There is no reason to take the risk when your body cannot rid itself of these harmful particles.
However, medical experts generally say that those who develop issues like lung cancer probably had long-term exposure -- years of use. That's why talcum powder is so dangerous. Many people made it a daily staple, not realizing the threat that it posed.
Even so, some studies that look at workers who get exposed to asbestos claim that just one month of exposure can raise the risks of lung cancer. They put the range at one month to one year. This is by no means "long-term" exposure, but it could have a dramatic impact on a person's life.
The real risks
Essentially, asbestos is poisoning your body. Unlike other poisonous substances, however, you may not know what's happening at that very moment. Exposure levels are different for everyone. Latency periods also differ from one case to the next.
All of this makes the cases very complex and difficult to navigate. You know about the end results, but when did they start? What impact did the exposure really have? How do you show a clear link between the two? These are all critical questions to ask as you look into the legal process to seek financial compensation.