A recently-published story by the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (JOEM) states that contrary to the common belief that prolonged, excessive exposure to asbestos is the only way cancer develops, even a small amount of asbestos exposure has the potential to cause significant harm.
Mesothelioma, one of leading diseases caused by asbestos exposure, has resulted in a myriad of mesothelioma lawsuits lately as more and more people discover they were negligently exposed to asbestos via products and/or while at work.
Over 58,000 people, all males, who had been exposed previously exposed to asbestos, participated in the study. The study lasted a little over 17 years, and the follow-up concluded that more than 26,000 cases of asbestos-related cancers had occurred, including the following:
- Lung Cancer: 2,324
- Pleural Mesothelioma: 132
- Laryngeal Cancer: 166
Many of the participants in the study were only exposed to low levels of asbestos, confirming what many scientists and physicians have thought for decades: any amount of asbestos exposure should be considered hazardous and medical help should be sought immediately for anyone who has been around the dangerous mineral. Unfortunately, most people aren’t aware that they’ve ingested or inhaled asbestos as the fibers are thin, fine filaments that aren’t detected by the human eye. Coupled with an extremely long latency period, people tend to wait until it’s too late before they seek medical help. Yet, if you think you’ve been around asbestos, no matter how short of a time period, it’s critical to maintain regular health check ups, preferably from a doctor who specifically specializes in asbestos-related diseases.
In addition to lung cancer, mesothelioma, and laryngeal cancer, the study suggests that asbestos exposure may also lead to an increased risk of developing esophagus, kidney, bladder, and throat cancer. Furthermore, asbestos exposure may also cause gastrointestinal and colorectal cancer.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has always believed that any exposure to asbestos should be considered dangerous, even though many manufacturers and companies have been quick to point out that asbestos is only dangerous if it’s friable and inhaled in large quantities. Although large amounts of friable asbestos are certainly dangerous, any amount at all is now proven to be hazardous. Even with new information and the EPA’s endless fights to permanently ban asbestos, it’s still legal to use in many products.
However, if you were exposed to asbestos without proper warning or via any other negligent behavior by another party, you may be entitled to compensation. Each year, more and more people are being diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses after being carelessly exposed to asbestos at work or through products that didn’t give proper warning.
It’s important to understand your legal rights and what damages you may be entitled to if those rights are violated. An experienced mesothelioma attorney can assist you in understanding what legal options you have and help you win the justice you deserve. For more information, contact our leading asbestos lawyers today for a free, no-obligation consultation.