If you work in certain industries or locations, such as auto mechanics, a naval shipyard, a railroad, factory or old school building, there may be unseen hazards in your workplace that place your health at risk. Many North Carolina workers face exposure to microscopic fibers that exist in the dust of the air, which they then inhale or swallow. Years later, they become chronically ill with a lung condition called “asbestosis.”
Your loved ones at home may also be at risk for asbestosis if the microscopic fibers known as “asbestos” settle in dust on your clothing or in your hair. You return home from work, day after day, perhaps hug your family members or converse with them in close quarters. This type of secondary exposure to asbestos can make people ill, as well.
Asbestosis is a chronic health condition that affects the lungs. It occurs in people who have had exposure to high concentrations of asbestos fibers in the air. It is primarily an occupational hazard. However, as mentioned earlier, secondary exposure creates a serious health risk for many people whose loved ones have had direct exposure to asbestos on the job.
Asbestosis is a scarring of lung tissue that may occur if you have inhaled or ingested dust containing asbestos fibers. Doctors often refer to it as an “interstitial” condition, which basically means it occurs in the space between cells in tissue. In this case, that tissue would be your lungs.
Because of new laws that regulate asbestos removal and the use of asbestos in manufactured products, it is a lot less likely today that you might have exposure to asbestos on the job. However, if you work in an industry or location where the risk is high, it is possible. If you were employed in a high-risk industry years ago and contracted asbestosis, you might be experiencing symptoms now. It typically takes years, sometimes more than a decade, for symptoms to develop.
The damage asbestos does to your lungs is not reversable. If a North Carolina physician has diagnosed you or your loved one with asbestosis, he or she no doubt also informed you that it is an incurable illness. There are palliative treatments available, which can alleviate pain and discomfort and help you to enjoy as high quality a life as possible as your disease progresses.
There have been numerous class action lawsuits regarding asbestosis and other asbestos-related cancers. Such cases often stem from situations where third-party negligence was a factor in asbestos exposure that resulted in a terminal illness.