Asbestos disease can develop in individuals who have been exposed to dangerous quantities of airborne asbestos fibers. Asbestos is a group of minerals that have been added to thousands of products in order to increase durability, fire resistance, and strength or to protect against corrosion or other damage. While anyone can potentially be exposed to harmful asbestos fibers, workers in the automotive, factory, railroad, shipyard, construction/building and custodial professionals face a greater risk for developing asbestos disease.
Where Asbestos Was Used
Asbestos was used extensively in building and shipyards (and various other industries) extensively between the 1930s and the 1970s. The federal government began regulating asbestos use in the mid-1970s shortly after evidence began to surface linking the fibers to serious diseases.
Anyone who has been exposed to harmful quantities of asbestos in the last fifty years may still be at risk for developing an asbestos disease. Many types of asbestos disease can remain dormant, or asymptomatic, for several years before they are diagnosed. Asbestos disease can be serious and potentially fatal.
Types of Asbestos Diseases
Asbestosis is one type of asbestos disease that a person can develop. Asbestosis is a non-cancerous asbestos disease, which causes scar tissue to develop on the lower lobes of both lungs. This asbestos disease can impair lung elasticity and the lung's ability to sufficiently exchange gases. Asbestosis gets worse over time and can result in significant breathing impairment. This asbestos disease can have a 15 to 30 year latency period.
Mesothelioma is a cancerous asbestos disease that proves fatal in most circumstances. The latency period for mesothelioma can range anywhere from ten to fifty years. By the time this asbestos disease is finally diagnosed, the cancer has usually spread significantly and the prognosis is generally poor. The average mesothelioma patient survives four to eighteen months beyond the date of diagnosis. Mesothelioma can affect the protective lining of various organs including the lungs and heart as well as the abdomen.
A multitude of other asbestos cancers are also considered potential types of asbestos disease.
Diagnosed with an Asbestos Disease
If you have developed an asbestos disease as a result of harmful exposure to asbestos fibers, you may be eligible to seek compensation for your suffering. For more information on asbestos disease litigation consider speaking with an asbestos attorney familiar with mesothelioma and asbestos law cases.