If you have ever worked in a Navy shipyard, an old school building, an apartment complex with popcorn ceilings or an auto mechanics shop, you may, at some point, have been exposed to asbestos. Even in your private life, for instance, if you live in a home built before 1978, there may unseen dangers lurking in the air due to asbestos. Asbestos exposure increases the risk for terminal illnesses, such as mesothelioma.
The term ‘friability‘ refers to the condition of a particular material that is known to contain asbestos, for instance, spray insulation, old vinyl flooring, textured paint or roofing shingles. The more ‘friable‘ a substance is, the greater the risk.
Basic facts regarding substance friability and asbestos
Asbestos is a group of naturally occurring fibers that are microscopic. If you inhale or ingest them, they can become lodged in your lungs or other areas of the body, slowly developing into a terminal illness known as ‘mesothelioma.‘ There is no level of exposure regarded as safe when it comes to asbestos. However, the less friable a substance is, the lower the risk.
When a material is friable, it means that it is easily crumbled or turned into powder if you move, manipulate or handle it. Certain things cause increased friability, such as material that has gotten soaking wet, then dried, then wet again, etc. When friable materials crumble, microscopic asbestos fibers are released into the surrounding atmosphere, placing your or anyone else nearby at risk for inhaling or ingesting the fibers.
There is no cure for mesothelioma
If your doctor diagnoses you with mesothelioma, any treatment plan discussed will be palliative in nature, meaning that treatment is designed to alleviate pain and discomfort rather than provide a cure. Mesothelioma can be present in your body for years before you develop symptoms. The disease begins to progress more quickly in its later stages.
There may have been negligence involved
In the workplace, your employer owes you a duty to provide training and equipment to keep you safe. He or she must also disclose information regarding known hazards, such as asbestos being present in the workplace. There are also laws regarding full disclosure in the real estate industry, such as if you rented or purchased a home and were not informed of an asbestos problem.
If you have contracted mesothelioma due to asbestos in the workplace or elsewhere, and you believe that another person‘s negligence was a causal factor, you may wish to speak to someone who understands how to navigate the legal system.