The Lethal Threat of Asbestos at Home and Work
January 13, 2016 | Mesothelioma
Asbestos is a group of minerals with microfibers that are resistant to fire, chemicals, and heat. They do not conduct electricity, either, which made them a widely-used substance in the automotive and construction fields at the end of the 19th century and into the 20th. Asbestos was used in concrete structures, fire-retardant coatings, bricks, fireplace construction, pipes, fire and acid-resistant gaskets, insulation for pipes and ceilings, drywall and drywall joint compound, roofing, and more. While incredibly useful in many fields of manufacturing and building, it is a lethal substance when disturbed. In the United Kingdom, despite a ban on asbestos years earlier, a 2011 study found that more than 50% of homes still contained asbestos. Unfortunately that is the case here in New York, as well.
How and Why is Asbestos Harmful to Humans?
When disturbed, such as moved or shaken, the tiny fibers in asbestos get released into the air. They can become trapped in the lungs and reside there for years, creating serious health problems. Listed below are the complications to health that asbestos contamination involves, according to WebMD:
- Asbestosis causes inflammation of the lungs that induces coughing, shortness of breath, and scarring of the lungs, which inhibits the victim’s ability to breathe;
- Mesothelioma is one of the more well known illness caused by asbestos. Mesothelioma is a cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, the abdomen, or the chest cavity.
- Asbestos poisoning causes lung cancer;
- Pleural plaques involve changes within the membranes around the lungs;
- Thickening of those membranes surrounding the lungs; and
- Pleural effusions involve the pooling of fluid between the lungs and inside chest cavity.
The following cancers have been linked to asbestos poisoning but further investigation is needed to make these findings conclusive:
- Gastrointestinal tract cancer;
- Throat cancer;
- Kidney cancer;
- Brain cancer;
- Bladder cancer;
- Larynx (voice box) cancer; and
People at Risk of Asbestos Poisoning
Anyone can be at risk of asbestos poisoning if it is in their home or place of work. Additionally, those who worked in the clean up of the World Trade Centers following the 2011 attacks have an increased risk. The north tower was constructed with asbestos and thousands of pounds of it were released into the air and surrounding area when it came down. Smokers are another group who are at risk of complicating the negative effects of asbestos poisoning. In regards to the risk factors involved in asbestos poisoning, the following should be taken into consideration:
- Length of exposure time;
- Amount of asbestos exposed to;
- Size, shape, and chemical composition of the fibers; and
- Other lung diseases that the person already had.
If you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos at home or at work, you may be able to recover damages to help pay for medical bills, lost wages, lost enjoyment of life, and pain and suffering. It is not only vital to seek medical attention immediately if you believe you have been exposed to and are suffering from one of the medical conditions associated with asbestos poisoning, but it is also crucial to contact an experienced New York asbestos poisoning attorney at once. Give Napoli Shkolnik PLLC a call today at 212-397-1000 to discuss your legal options.