These days, it’s common knowledge that exposure to asbestos can be extremely dangerous. It’s a topic that we’ve covered on this blog before. Still, even though many people are aware that asbestos is dangerous, there are still many who do not take the proper precautions to protect themselves from exposure. In this blog, we will discuss when and why you should worry about asbestos, how common exposure is, and what can be done to prevent it.
Why Should I Be Worried About Asbestos?
Asbestos exposure is something that should always be taken very seriously. Exposure to asbestos is known to cause a deadly form of cancer called mesothelioma. Every year, there are 2,500 to 3,000 new cases of mesothelioma. Most of the time, mesothelioma develops in the lining of the lungs, although it’s also known to occur in the abdomen and in the heart.
In addition to causing mesothelioma, asbestos exposure is also known to cause asbestosis, a lung disease marked by severe fibrosis, or a thickening and scarring of tissue.
It’s important to note that no amount of asbestos is considered safe.
How Does Asbestos Exposure Happen?
Unfortunately, it’s very easy to be exposed to asbestos. Typically, when products that contain asbestos are disturbed, small asbestos fibers are released into the air. When these fibers are inhaled, they can get trapped in the lungs and eventually lead to serious health problems such as mesothelioma and asbestosis.
Products containing asbestos were widely used throughout the 20th century, before the dangers were fully understood by the public. For this reason, there are still many buildings and products which contain asbestos today. Anyone who works in these environments is at risk of being exposed to asbestos. Historically, asbestos exposure and mesothelioma has hit certain groups like construction workers, veterans, and firefighters the most.
How Common is Asbestos Exposure?
Although asbestos has not been completely banned in this country, restrictions on its use as well as a greater public awareness of its dangers has led to fewer people being exposed. Unfortunately, because it can often be decades between exposure and the development of mesothelioma, it’s difficult to estimate how common exposure to asbestos is today. What we do know is that asbestos is still present in many older buildings, so the risk of exposure still exists for many people. Certain events, like natural disasters, can often expose a greater number of people to asbestos.
Fortunately, resources for properly protecting yourself from asbestos are made available to all. When you’re moving or buying a new home, it’s best to hire a trained professional to look for and remove any asbestos which may be present.
When to Worry About Asbestos
According to the National Cancer Institute, everyone is exposed to asbestos at some point. Low levels are present in the air, water, and soil.
However, you should worry about asbestos when you come into contact with the substance often. People become ill when they are exposed to the substance on a regular basis, most often in a job where they work with the substance. Again, construction workers, veterans, firefighters, and dock workers have traditionally had the highest rates of mesothelioma because of the consistent exposure.
Even if you’re not in one of these professions, it’s good to be vigilant. There have been cases of spouses of people who work with asbestos developing mesothelioma by breathing in the fibers attached to their spouse’s clothing.
Rather than worrying about exposure, it’s best to take the necessary steps to protect yourself. Contact a trained professional to inspect your home or work environment for asbestos and, if any is found, have a professional remove it promptly.
Contact an Attorney
If you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos and has developed mesothelioma, don’t hesitate. Contact the experienced mesothelioma attorneys at Nelson MacNeil Rayfield today. We can answer any questions you may have during a free consultation and, if necessary, represent your case at trial. With over 70 collective years of legal and trial experience, Nelson MacNeil Rayfield is here to help.