Thousands of Americans each year pass away due to asbestos-related illnesses. Prior to the 1970’s, there was little to no regulation surrounding the use of asbestos in building materials, household products, vehicle parts, and more. During that time, nobody knew just how devastating the impact of asbestos exposure would be on the human body. Once people started developing serious and even fatal illnesses because of their past exposure, more strict regulations on the use of asbestos were established.
Despite the stronger rules nowadays, asbestos can still be used in certain quantities when manufacturing products. Additionally, buildings built before the 1970’s may still have asbestos lingering in the walls and other areas of the home, potentially putting families at risk if these materials get disturbed and flake into the air.
Short Term Asbestos Exposure
Short-term and minor exposure to asbestos rarely develops into a disease later on. A single incident of exposure to asbestos during a project, such as home renovation, is not really a major risk to health. The diseases that are caused due to exposure are the results of cumulative, long-term inhalation or ingestion of asbestos.
False Beliefs About Asbestos
While asbestos has a reputation for being deadly, not everyone understands what makes this mineral so hazardous. Many people believe that asbestos can find its way into food products or get absorbed into the skin, much like pesticides. Some people may even be very worried that they will get sick just because they use or are around a product that contains asbestos.
However, asbestos is only dangerous when it has been disturbed and becomes airborne. Asbestos fibers are microscopic and cannot be seen with the eye, so people may unknowingly inhale or ingest these particles through the air. When an asbestos-related illness develops, it is often due to millions of tiny, microscopic dust fibers that have built up in a person’s lung membrane lining or within their lung tissue.
Who Is Most At Risk
The safest amount of asbestos exposure is no exposure at all. There is no amount that is deemed safe, and people must always take steps to protect themselves from inhaling this harmful dust. The people most at-risk for exposure and illness later in life are those who worked in certain industries during the 1950s and 1960s. Those who were employed as service members, worked on military aircraft and vehicles, shipyard workers, firefighters, and other disaster responders are most vulnerable to toxic asbestos exposure.
Additionally, when these workers return home, they might unknowingly expose their families to asbestos as well. Asbestos can stick to and linger on clothing, and can be released into the air or breathed in by family members when they come into contact with pants, jackets, shoes, etc.
Eligibility For Compensation
Since the diseases caused by asbestos exposure may not develop until twenty, thirty, or forty years later, people may not connect the link between their illness and the work they did when they were younger.
There are many different kinds of damages that a victim may be able to claim, as a litigation law firm like Brown Kiely, LLP, can explain. People who were unknowingly exposed to asbestos may be entitled to financial compensation from an employer or other party that failed to protect them.