Despite concerns as early as the late 1800s, manufacturers and builders commonly used materials containing dangerous amounts of asbestos for nearly 70 years. Since then, the public has been made aware that asbestos can cause mesothelioma, a rare form of lung cancer.
Asbestos is particularly dangerous because the symptoms often don’t emerge until decades after exposure.
Due to its desirable physical properties, asbestos fibers were used in insulation for private homes and public buildings. When those buildings are torn down and the insulation is ripped out, the tiny fibers are released into the air and can be inhaled by workers.
This puts not only the workers themselves at risk, but also their loved ones, as asbestos can be transported on clothing, skin and hair.
The companies that produced materials containing asbestos should have been perfectly aware of the risks.
In 1918, a U.S. government report indicated that certain insurance companies refused to insure people who work in environments containing asbestos. People who worked in refineries, steel mills, power mills, automotive facilities and at large construction sites were most likely to work in such an environment.
At that point, researchers had attributed a lung disease called asbestosis to asbestos exposure. Then in 1943, the first case of mesothelioma was reported.
But it wasn’t until 1973 that the Environmental Protection Agency began taking measures to limit exposure to asbestos. In 1989, the use of asbestos was largely outlawed, though some products that contain asbestos are still on the market to this day.
Of the 3,000 to 4,000 people who are diagnosed with mesothelioma annually, 70 percent have been exposed to asbestos. Though asbestos use has dramatically declined in recent years, it’s not uncommon for people to just now start experiencing symptoms after being exposed in the 1970s and 1980s.
Victims of asbestos exposure may be entitled to compensation from a trust exceeding $30 billion. The amount each claimant receives is contingent upon the severity of their condition.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, call Hupy and Abraham immediately at 800-800-5678.