Lung cancer and asbestos are intimately linked at this point, and the world’s health organizations are in general agreement – the once ubiquitous building material can cause deadly complications in people exposed to it for long. In the late 80s and 90s, the media roundly exposed the dangers lying inside the harmless looking silicate, so most people now understand that it should be avoided. But why, and what about people who worked with the material before its effects were generally understood? For these people, legal action may be the only option available.
WHAT IS THE CONNECTION BETWEEN LUNG CANCER AND ASBESTOS?
This material has been used for decades, prized for the additional shock and fire resistance it offers to the building, as well as the improved insulation properties it brings. The usable part of the silicate is made up of millions of incredibly tiny crystal fibers, and they are so small they can pass through nearly any filter on the planet. During construction, the fibrous mass is mixed in with concrete or other building materials, imparting the beneficial qualities into the structure.
However, when parts of the building consisting of the material are disturbed, it will suspend the crystal fibers in the air, where they can easily be inhaled. Once in the body, they are a menace. The fibers are shaped like tiny harpoons, with hooks on the end that latch into tissues and become entwined. The body tries to digest the fibers and rid them from the body, but their sharp nature punctures through cell membranes and destroys any attempts by the body’s immune system to remove the fibers. Over time, this results in a buildup of deposited connective tissue that may form into a large mass. This is a condition known as fibrosis, and it is the precursor to mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is the deadliest outcome of exposure to the material. It is a cancer that affects the lining tissues around the lungs, heart or abdomen, and it is extremely aggressive. In fact, most people diagnosed with the disease will die from it within months, and there is no effective treatment available. It can present medically with a sharp, hacking cough, chest pain, fatigue, and cold-like symptoms, making it difficult to detect early.
This form of lung cancer and asbestos are as closely linked as any risk factor and disease in the world. Researchers believe that the only cause of mesothelioma is exposure to the silicate, so when it presents, it is normally clear who is responsible. Unfortunately, many construction and petroleum companies maintained use of the material even after its dangers were clear, but because it was widely available and effective, many employers ignored their workers’ safety until they were forced to relent.
This has led to a wave of lawsuits against employers and manufacturers, and many lawsuits are added to the pile every day. Anyone diagnosed with mesothelioma or a related medical condition is encouraged to seek council with an attorney experienced with these cases.