Asbestos is no longer used in construction, yet it still resides in many homes and buildings. The dangerous aspect of asbestos is when it is disturbed, becomes airborne, and is inhaled. Asbestos is a group of microfiber minerals that resists fire, heat, and chemicals, which is why it became a popular construction material by the end of the 19th century. It was used in bricks, fireplace construction, concrete structures, fire retardants, roofing, pipes and pipe insulation, acid resistant gaskets, drywall, ceilings, and many more applications. A 2011 study done in the United Kingdom, which, like the U.S., banned asbestos many years ago, found that over 50 percent of U.K. homes contained asbestos. Asbestos is still here in North Carolina in office buildings, manufacturing facilities, and other places of work. If you have been exposed to asbestos in your workplace and are suffering serious health problems as a result, contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney today.
Health Complications Brought on by Asbestos Contamination
Asbestos is harmful when sitting up in a ceiling completely undisturbed. But when it is moved or agitated in any way, such as from a ventilation system or during renovation, asbestos microfibers get released into the air. There, they get trapped within the victim’s lungs and sit for years, building up to serious health complications. According to WebMD, the following health concerns arise due to asbestos contamination:
- Shortness of breath, coughing, scarring and inflammation of the lungs, and difficulty breathing are brought on by asbestosis;
- Mesothelioma is a cancer of the abdomen, chest cavity, and lining of the lungs; and
- Asbestos also causes thickening of the lung membrane, lung cancer, pleural plaques (changes in the lung membrane), pleural effusions (accumulation of fluid between the lungs and chest cavity).
Other types of cancer listed below have been linked to asbestos poisoning. However, additional research must be performed to confirm this:
- Bladder cancer;
- Brain cancer;
- Gallbladder and other forms of cancer;
- Gastrointestinal tract cancer;
- Larynx (voice box) cancer;
- Kidney cancer; and
- Throat cancer.
Risk of Poisoning Increases With Exposure
Many types of jobs expose workers to potential asbestos contamination. However, manual labor jobs are the most dangerous in terms of asbestos contamination. The most at-risk are construction workers, firefighters, industrial workers, power plant workers, and shipyard workers. Those who smoke increase their risks of worsening the effects of asbestos poisoning. The following will determine whether or not a worker comes down with a sickness to due asbestos contamination:
- Time length of exposure;
- Quantity of asbestos they were exposed to;
- Size, shape, and chemical makeup of the asbestos fibers; and
- Preexisting lung diseases or complications.
If you or a loved one has suffered serious health consequences due to asbestos exposure on the job, contact an experienced Charlotte, North Carolina, workers’ compensation attorney at once. You may be owed damages to help pay for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Call an attorney today to begin the legal process of filing a claim so that you can afford the care that you deserve.