The dangers of exposure to asbestos are well known. Asbestos mining began over 4,000 years ago, although the widespread economic use of asbestos did not begin until the beginning of the 19th century. Asbestos quickly became a staple in the manufacturing process due to its favorable physical properties and affordability.
Asbestos is cheap, fire resistant and great for insulation. Asbestos is a naturally occurring silicate mineral. The United State Environmental Protection Agency classifies 6 different types of minerals as ‘asbestos’, and further classifies the mineral as a carcinogen to humans. Asbestos is composed of thin fibrous crystals, with each strand being composed of millions tiny ‘fibrils’. These fibrils can be released into the air, sometimes invisible to they eye, due to various processes such as abrasion. The prolonged exposure and inhalation of these fibrils is associated with mesothelimoa, malignant lung cancer, and asbestosis.
Why Was Asbestos Used?
Early civilizations used asbestos to strengthen their building materials such as earthen pots. In the early 19th century, the favorable properties of asbestos found their way into countless commercial uses. Asbestos was often combined with other building materials, such as concrete or woven into mats, when using the mineral for its resistance to heat and fire. Asbestos has been used for sound absorption, insulation, automotive parts, electrical casing, plastics, cigarette filters, textiles, cloths, fireproofing and prevention, etc.
One of the first commercial uses of asbestos was lining steam engines in 1828. During World War II, asbestos was used exclusively in the shipbuilding industry, exposing millions and millions of people to the carcinogen. The large number of uses for asbestos worldwide made it one of the most widely used building materials of all time.
Asbestos Related Injuries and Disease
Doctors as far back as 1800’s acknowledged the respiratory problems by those working with asbestos. It was noted as far back as AD 61 that slaves working in the mines around asbestos would become ill. The first modern day case of asbestosis was reported in 1924, although the condition had claimed countless lives before this point without an official name. Asbestosis is a chronic inflammatory lung condition which results from the prolonged inhalation and retention of asbestos fibers in the lungs. Asbestosis is regarded as a occupational lung disease because it is found in workers who are exposed to the fibers over long periods of time.
Throughout the mid to late 1900’s, investigations into the deaths of workers regularly exposed to asbestos reveled traces of the fibers in the lungs of the victims. However, it was not until the 1970’s that the scientific evidence linking asbestos exposure and several deadly diseases became widely recognized by the scientific community. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a ban in 1977 on certain commercial uses of asbestos. Over 10 years later in 1998, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a ban on almost all products containing asbestos. However, the 1998 ban was soon overturned by a New Orleans Court.
Today, asbestos can be used if the total amount used is less than 1% of the entire product. Asbestos continues to be used in brake pads, cement piping, roofing, and car clutches, among others. The known dangers associated with the continued use of asbestos anger asbestos exposure victims suffering from the harmful effects of the mineral.
Compensation for Asbestos Exposure
As is often the case, exposure to asbestos is only thought about after being diagnosed with a disease such as asbestosis, lung cancer, or mesothelioma. At this point individuals begin to search for where their asbestos exposure occurred. Some common occupations of high exposure to asbestos over the 19th century include:
- Shipyard workers;
- Pipe Fitters;
- Drywall / Insulation workers; and
- Boiler and Machine Technicians.
The above list is only a partial list of the of types of occupations where workers were regularly exposed to asbestos fibers. The wide spread use of asbestos has placed millions of people in harms way.
If you were exposed to asbestos and are suffering from mesothelioma, lung cancer, or asbestosis, you are entitled to reimbursement for your harms and losses. Call today to speak to our lawyers for asbestos damages for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our compassionate and aggressive legal representation has helped us recovery over $35,000,000 for injury victims through settlements, judgments, and verdicts.
We are here to serve.