What is most deadly about asbestosis is not its chronic nature, but the likelihood it will lead to fatal conditions like lung failure or cancer. This disease is caused by exposure to asbestos, a silicate material used in the early to middle 20th century and prized for its resistance to heat and tensile strength. After years of exposure to silicate particles shed by the material, chronic fibrosis and inflammation of the lungs set in, leading to breathing problems and elevated health risks for the rest of a person’s life.
This disease is startlingly common among current and former airplane mechanics and technicians. Until the material was banned, these silicates were used in several parts of the aircraft. The brakes and engine were buffered with the mineral to protect them from heat and electrical discharge. Epoxies used to glue parts together were mixed with silicates to improve bonding power. Whenever the brakes were applied, wear on the material resulted in loose dust forming. During service, a mechanic could easily breathe this in. If the mechanic has to remove parts of the plane to fix them, the silicates in the epoxy could also shed debris.
After years of this exposure, many of these workers began to suffer from lung problems. What is also dangerous about asbestosis is the time it takes for symptoms to present themselves. In some cases, it can take decades before the fibrous masses in the lungs are detected.
Any airplane mechanics or technicians who have been diagnosed with the disease should think of consulting with a personal injury lawyer. With a legal expert, there is a good chance that a victim will be able to receive compensation for their pain and suffering.