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Asbestos Exposure & Risk

Did You Know?

The total cost of resolving asbestos claims has already reached $54 billion, and could rise to as much as $260 billion, according to the Rand Institute for Civil Justice.

Nearly everyone is exposed to asbestos at some time during their life. However, most people do not become ill from their exposure. People who become ill from asbestos are usually those who are exposed to it on a regular basis, most often in a job where they work directly with the material or through substantial environmental contact. Asbestos exposure has been linked to a number of life-threatening diseases, including lung cancer and Mesothelioma. The latency period between the time of exposure to asbestos, the diseases do not surface for 20-40 years. Asbestosis is the scarring of the lungs that leads to breathing problems and heart failure. Workers who manufacture or use asbestos products and have high exposures to asbestos are often affected with asbestosis. Mesothelioma is a rare cancer of the lining of the chest and abdomen lining.

When inhaled asbestos can have very serious effects on your health. The greater the exposure to asbestos, the greater the risk for an asbestos- related disease there is. Currently, there is no known level of asbestos exposure deemed safe. It is unknown the levels of asbestos that is considered safe.

Asbestos Exposure

Since the early 1940s, millions of American workers have been exposed to asbestos. Health hazards from asbestos fibers have been recognized in workers exposed in shipbuilding trades, asbestos mining and milling, manufacturing of asbestos textiles and other asbestos products, insulation work in the construction and building trades, brake repair, and a variety of other trades. Demolition workers, drywall removers, and firefighters also may be exposed to asbestos fibers. As a result of Government regulations and improved work practices, today's workers (those without previous exposure) are likely to face smaller risks than did those exposed in the past.

Although it is known that the risk to workers increases with heavier exposure and longer exposure time, investigators have found asbestos-related diseases in individuals with only brief exposures. Generally, those who develop asbestos-related diseases show no signs of illness for a long time after their first exposure. It can take from 10 to 40 years for symptoms of an asbestos-related condition to appear.

There is some evidence that family members of workers heavily exposed to asbestos face an increased risk of developing mesothelioma. This risk is thought to result from exposure to asbestos fibers brought into the home on the shoes, clothing, skin, and hair of workers. This type of exposure is called paraoccupational exposure. To decrease these exposures, people exposed to asbestos at work are required to shower and change their clothing before leaving the workplace.

Asbestos and Smoking

Many studies have shown that the combination of smoking and asbestos exposure is particularly hazardous. Smokers who are also exposed to asbestos have a greatly increased risk of lung cancer. However, smoking combined with asbestos exposure does not appear to increase the risk of Mesothelioma.

There is evidence that quitting smoking will reduce the risk of lung cancer among asbestos-exposed workers. People who were exposed to asbestos on the job at any time during their life or who suspect they may have been exposed should not smoke. If they smoke, they should stop.

How Long Does It Take To Develop Asbestos Exposure Diseases?

Many asbestos cancers will not appear in a victim until 20 years or more after their first exposure to asbestos. Typically, asbestosis or pleural plaques will not occur until at least ten to twenty years after first exposure. The time will vary depending on the extent of exposure and the individual's susceptibility. If you or someone in your family has been exposed to Asbestos related disease we can help you obtain experienced legal help from attorneys who have successfully tried asbestos cases in your area. Please fill out our contact for and someone will contact you within 24 hours.