Mesothelioma: How To Know If You’re At Risk
Some people who were heavily exposed to asbestos never develop cancer or other illness. Others developed mesothelioma from indirect exposure, such as people who lived near factories or wives who washed their husbands’ work clothes.
Asbestos is the only proven cause of mesothelioma, a cancer of the linings around the lungs and internal organs. Any level of exposure is potentially harmful.
Men are far more likely than women to develop mesothelioma. Millions of men worked at jobs in the 1940s, ’50s, ’60s and ’70s that had substantial unprotected exposure to asbestos fibers.
Smokers are at increased risk for mesothelioma and greatly multiplied risk for asbestosis and lung cancer if they were previously exposed to asbestos.
Patterns of Exposure: Industries and Products Linked to Mesothelioma
Asbestos is a mineral once widely used in industrial settings, construction materials, and consumer products for its heat insulation and fire retardant properties. In fact, it is still legal to import and use asbestos in the United States. Fifty countries have banned it, but our country is not one of them.
Persons who worked in any of the following industries and occupations have an elevated incidence of mesothelioma:
- Power plants and chemical refineries
- Shipyards and steel mills
- Paper mills
- Construction, remodeling and demolition
- Jobs on or around boilers, turbines, pumps, valves or piping in any industry
- U.S. Navy and Coast Guard personnel
- Merchant mariners
Visit our Navy-related mesothelioma page.
Other Occupations With Known Asbestos Exposure
Mesothelioma is by no means limited to construction workers, ship builders, sailors, mill workers and industrial plant employees. Asbestos was so prevalent for many decades that millions of people routinely came in contact:
|– Electricians and plumbers
– Roofing and siding contractors
– HVAC installers
– Utility workers
– Other military personnel
– Railroad employees
|– Auto mechanics
– Commercial and military aircraft mechanics
– Machinists and welders
– Heavy equipment operators
– Dock workers
Even this list is far from complete. There were thousands of different products that contained asbestos, putting people at risk no matter how far removed from “hazardous” jobs. Family members of workers exposed to asbestos on the job are at risk of second-hand exposure through particles brought home by the workers. Furthermore, many people are exposed to asbestos through use of products that contain it, such as people who live or work in areas where remodeling of old homes and other types of buildings is underway.
Second-Hand Exposure In Unexpected Places
At 39, Gail was unusually young for mesothelioma and something of a mystery. Nothing in her suburban life or history raised red flags for asbestos exposure — no military service, never worked construction, didn’t live near a factory.
Our lawyers eventually traced Gail’s illness to her job as a graphic artist at a school. She was exposed every summer as remodeling crews tore out old wallboard that contained asbestos. Each morning her desk would be thick with dust. The most common causes of secondary exposure are routine contact with contaminated clothing, inhaling airborne asbestos fibers from a nearby factory or breathing construction dust, such as the construction-related dust that Gail was exposed to.
Wallace & Graham, P.A. has enabled many hundreds of clients like Gail and their families to get the right treatment and secure compensation through asbestos exposure litigation. Our attorneys are skilled at tracking down the source(s) of exposure and holding those employers or companies responsible for their negligence or willful indifference.
We have secured the largest mesothelioma verdict – $32.7 million* – in the history of North Carolina. The record-breaking case was brought on behalf of the widow of a tire-plant worker who was exposed to asbestos on the job.
*Each case is different and must be evaluated on its individual facts. Prior results do not guarantee any future outcomes.