There are far too many stories in the news about people who have become victims of exposure to dangerous levels of asbestos. We read about the people who worked in shipyards, on the railroads and in other industries who learn they have mesothelioma, lung cancer or asbestosis. Many of these people have long since retired from their jobs and are focused at enjoying retirement. The tragic reality is that asbestos-related cancers can be very aggressive and many people do not receive a diagnosis until it is too late for treatment to be effective.
Mesothelioma is one of the most deadly work-related diseases. The condition, which plagues people across North Carolina, is a cancer that is known to be caused by asbestos. Mesothelioma affects the lungs and respiratory tract, and it causes shortness of breath, chest pain and sometimes unexplained weight loss. The condition can take 10 years or longer to diagnose because of its slow rate of development.
For many years, asbestos was commonly used in various locomotive parts because of its heat-resistant properties. Certain parts on trains, such as the brakes, generate so much heat during operation that asbestos was used through the 1980s to protect other parts. However, when asbestos-containing parts on these trains begin to wear down and deteriorate, the asbestos can be released into the air and is then breathed in by any of the workers nearby.
You may think you've heard this story before. A railroad company that is sued for exposing workers to asbestos is not an isolated incident. Sadly, because of the extreme levels of exposure and negligence in the industry historically, many workers are only now seeing the damage that was done to them. In another class action lawsuit, BNSF Railway is being sued by former railroad workers who developed serious lung diseases while on the job.
Railroad workers are among those who have very likely been exposed to dangerous levels of asbestos. Previously used to protect trains from the extreme heat generated during operation, asbestos was responsible for causing the wrongful death of many railroad workers. Recently, seven injured railroad workers filed a suit against their former employer for exhibiting negligence on the job.