Many people may already be aware that there are some folks who are more likely to have been exposed to asbestos than others. We have discussed how it was not uncommon for shipbuilders, plumbers, construction workers and soldiers in the U.S. Navy to have been exposed to the toxic material. They are often the ones who become victims of an asbestos-related disease later in life.
The toll that asbestos can take on a person's health can be unpredictable. Not every person develops a life-threatening illness from being exposed to asbestos and it can take decades for a person to even start showing symptoms. This is why it is crucial to take swift action against negligent parties when and if a person is diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness.
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.
Millions of people have been sickened by asbestos for many years now. Because its use was not regulated until the late 1980s, people working around the toxic fiber up until that point were often unprotected and unaware of the risks of exposure. While companies did little to protect workers back then, some are wasting no expense now when it comes to denying the claims from injured workers and challenging the cases against negligent employers.
Those in North Carolina and throughout the U.S. are likely aware of the reality that workers who were exposed to asbestos, especially decades ago when protective gear was not deemed necessary, are being diagnosed and dying from mesothelioma in significant numbers. One woman went to court recently after her husband contracted the serious illness and sought damages in charges involving product liability.
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.
There is no longer any doubt that asbestos is a dangerous fiber and has been directly linked to causing cancer. However, for decades, companies were able to get away with claiming ignorance about the toxicity of asbestos and ended up putting many workers in danger. Now 10, 20 or even 50 years later, victims of exposure to asbestos are beginning to show symptoms of mesothelioma, asbestosis and other illnesses caused by inhalation of asbestos.
Exposure to asbestos is a serious issue concerning workers around the world. While a select few may be exposed to the substance and the harmful ingredients that it contains only for a short time, most workers who suffer from mesothelioma and asbestosis come in contact with it for long hours on hundreds of different job sites over several years.
A 65-year-old man who worked as a shipwright trainee beginning when he was 15 recently won what he calls "significant compensation" after being diagnosed with mesothelioma.
Workers exposed to harsh chemicals for a number of years can often suffer from serious illness as a result of that exposure. One such worker, a 59-year-old man in Cornwall, U.K., was been diagnosed with mesothelioma last summer and given a maximum of six months to live. Chemotherapy treatments have helped to keep the cancer at bay, though have also left him house bound and weak.