Exposure to asbestos is the only known cause of mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a rare, aggressive cancer of the membranes surrounding the lungs, heart, abdominal cavity, or testes. Even with treatment, the prognosis is poor. Symptoms may not appear for up to 50 years after exposure, but after diagnosis, the life expectancy of mesothelioma sufferers is 8-14 months. The 5-year survival rate is just 10%.
Everyone is exposed to a certain amount of asbestos as it is naturally present in the air, soil, and water, but most people experience no health consequences from it. Those who suffer from asbestos-related disease were exposed regularly to concentrated asbestos. Most people who suffer from mesothelioma inhaled asbestos particles or dust in the workplace; construction and manufacturing workers are exposed most often. Many workers spent years unknowingly exposed to asbestos and now face a dangerous disease along with mounting medical bills. Each year 2,000 to 3,000 new cases of mesothelioma are reported.
Asbestos is resistant to heat, fire, and most chemicals and it doesn’t conduct electricity. Those properties made asbestos popular in many industries. It has been used as insulation, fireproofing, soundproofing, insulation and as a strengthener for concrete. It’s found in some ceiling and floor tiles and in brake shoes and clutch pads in cars. Asbestos was used freely until 1989, at which point the Environmental Protection Agency banned new uses of asbestos; uses developed before 1989 are still permitted. Widespread asbestos use led to widespread asbestos exposure and a growing population suffering from mesothelioma.
Millions of workers were exposed to asbestos without protection before the link between asbestos and mesothelioma was discovered. Class action lawsuits have secured settlements for mesothelioma sufferers and their families. If you suffer from mesothelioma, you may be entitled to compensation through one of these settlement agreements. Contact the experienced attorneys at Dyer, Garofalo, Mann & Schultz for a free consultation.