Mesothelioma can affect people at any age

When we read stories about people who are suffering from an asbestos-related disease, they are often older men who worked in dangerous conditions for decades. Less frequently, but still too often, we read about the women who are diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease after years of washing the toxic dust off of their husband’s work clothes.

It can take about 40 years for the symptoms of exposure to surface, which means that it is generally older people who learn that they have mesothelioma, asbestosis or other illnesses that have been linked by asbestos. But it is important to remember that people of any age can suffer the devastating and harmful effects of being exposed to asbestos.

Members of one community were recently saddened by the tragic death of a much-loved woman who had battled mesothelioma for six years. The wife and mother was only 37 when she passed away, which means that her exposure to asbestos likely occurred at a very young age.

By all accounts, the woman had been very vocal in her dedication to raising awareness of asbestos. She had been fighting to have the toxic fiber banned in the United States and worked to have asbestos eliminated in her community.

It is not that often that we read about younger generations of people suffering diseases such as mesothelioma. Since the 1980s, companies started using asbestos less often and people were learning how dangerous it was to breathe in the fibers. However, companies still manufactured products with asbestos and negligent employers still allowed workers to be exposed to the dust without protection.

It is unknown where and when this woman was exposed to the asbestos. But if her family chooses to pursue a wrongful death claim in the wake of her tragic and untimely death, it may be possible to track down the source of her exposure, identify the negligent parties and hold them accountable.

Source: The Indy Channel, “Janelle Bedel, Rushville’s ‘Wonder Woman,’ dies after long battle with mesothelioma,” June 20, 2013