The Role of Asbestos
Asbestos is a natural mineral that is comprised of fibers. Asbestos fibers are microscopic, yet they are strong and heat resistant. For this reason, asbestos became a widespread construction, household and industrial material. Over time, asbestos was incorporated into thousands of products, thus exposing millions of people to this harmful substance.
When asbestos fibers become airborne, they are inhaled. Once inhaled, they remain in the body for a significant period of time. During that time period, asbestos fibers create much damage to the human body, including the lungs and nearby tissue. The latency period for asbestos diseases is very long. Most people do not exhibit effects until 20 – 50 years after their exposure. Asbestos exposure may result in diseases such as asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.
Asbestos and Its Widespread Use
Asbestos is a natural mineral that is mined. In the early 1970s, over 299 million pounds were mined per year in the United States. There are three types of asbestos: chrysotile, amosite, and crocidolite. Chrysotile is the most common. All three types may result in asbestos-related disease.
Asbestos has been used in the manufacture of commercial, industrial and household products and equipment throughout the world. Its resilient composition has made it a widespread material. Specifically, asbestos has been principally used for fireproofing, thermal insulation, electrical applications, friction products, packing, gaskets, and drywall and other strengthening agents.
Medical and scientific studies confirm that asbestos causes cancer. Asbestos fibers are easily inhaled and remain in the lungs. Over time, they cause damage that leads to diseases such as pleural plaques, lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma. Currently, mesothelioma is incurable.
Health Hazards of Asbestos Were Covered Up by Industry
Research has confirmed the health hazards of asbestos, including the development of cancer. Asbestos companies knew of the hazards, but chose to hide them. The industry did not warn workers of asbestos dangers and health risks. Companies continued to hide the truth, even as mounting research confirmed the link between asbestos and diseases such as lung cancer and mesothelioma.
It was only in the 1970s that the federal government took steps to protect workers. However, millions of people were exposed to asbestos prior to that time. Many asbestos-containing products and equipment still exist at work sites.
Courts Recognize Right to Seek Compensation for Asbestos-Related Injures
Because asbestos was so commonly used, is microscopic, and was not the subject of warnings, most people are completely unaware that they were exposed to this deadly material. People often learn of their exposure decades later, typically when they develop an asbestos-related disease. Although exposure occurred decades prior, courts recognize the rights of people to seek compensation for their asbestos-related injuries. The Galiher Law Firm has successfully represented victims of asbestos exposure and their families for over 35 years.
Unaware of Exposure to Asbestos
Many people who have been exposed to asbestos are completely unaware. You cannot tell from looking at a particular product that it contains asbestos. Many everyday items such as thermal insulation, fireproofing, sound insulation, gaskets, packing, ceiling tiles, drywall, toys, furnaces, irons and even potholders contained asbestos until at the late 1970s. Manufacturers were not required to list asbestos as an ingredient in their products, and companies were not obligated to warn workers of the dangers of working with asbestos. The asbestos industry, however, was well aware of the dangers of asbestos and failed to warn the millions of people who were exposed. The Galiher Law Firm feels strongly about holding these companies liable for their failure to warn. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact us. You may have a legal claim against these companies.