What Is Asbestos
Asbestos is an occurrence of natural minerals. Asbestos is not harmful in its natural state. Asbestos, however, can be crushed into soft, flexible fibers, a unique characteristic among minerals. It is possible to weave its silky, pliable fibers into cloth, press them into felt, and incorporate the felt into small and large products.
Asbestos became so popular among industry and consumers due to its fire-resistance, corrosion-resistance, soundproof qualities, and exceptional strength. Additionally, it is lightweight, abundant, inexpensive, and easy to extract from the earth.
Mesothelioma, lung cancer, other cancers, and diseases like asbestosis have been linked to exposure to asbestos in its fibrous form. A person becomes infected with asbestos-related diseases when inhaled asbestos fibers lodge in their lungs or other organs.
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What Is the Source of Asbestos?
Fibrous asbestos can be classified into six categories, all of which originate from serpentine and amphibole, two naturally occurring rocky minerals. In serpentine, only chrysotile asbestos occurs. The minerals amphibole, anthophyllite, actinolite, tremolite, and crocidolite are found in amphibole deposits.
When the Johns Company, predecessor to Johns Manville, opened its first anthophyllite mine on Staten Island, New York, in 1858, it was the first asbestos mine in the U.S. Belvidere Mountain in northern Vermont was found to contain large quantities of asbestos in 1899. Within a century, six million tons of asbestos had been mined worldwide each year.
The asbestos industry began in the 1870s when soft, silk-like asbestos fibers were woven into textiles. It was soon possible to create plied yarns made from asbestos fibers dispersed across multiple strands of wool or cotton, which, when twisted, gave the yarn a uniform heat- and corrosion-resistant quality.
In 1883, asbestos textiles were mixed with rubber to make aprons and other protective garments that could be worn by foundry workers to shield them against spattering molten metals, welding sparks, and the concentrated heat from blast furnaces. Various household goods were created, such as oven mitts, stove mats, ironing board covers, and insulation in toasters, steam irons, and hair dryers. Several building codes in the United States required the use of asbestos by the 1950s, such as for stage curtains in theaters as well as asbestos-cement roof shingles on homes and businesses.
Before 1960, most asbestos mining operations were located on the east coast, where manufacturers who incorporated the fiber into their products were more numerous. Since the last asbestos mine in the United States closed in 2002, a chrysotile mine operated by King City Asbestos Company in central California, which was owned by Union Carbide until 1985, asbestos mining has ceased in the United States.
Types of Asbestos
Fibrous asbestos is composed of six distinct types of materials derived from serpentine and amphibole. Serpentine only contains chrysotile asbestos. Amphibole deposits produce amosite, anthophyllite, actinolite, tremolite, and crocidolite. All of these minerals are deadly, but some in particular. Asbestos is commonly recognized by its colors: blue, brown, yellow, white, and green.
Approximately 90% of commercial products around the world contain chrysotile asbestos, a member of the serpentine mineral class. Chrysotile asbestos is the most common form of asbestos. Chrysotile is one of the most common materials used in asbestos cement, textiles, brake linings, clutch facings, ropes and yarns because of its curly fibers that easily lodge in the body. A microscope shows those fibers to be white. Medical professionals hired by asbestos companies have argued that chrysotile is less toxic than other types of asbestos. However, studies have confirmed and the Environmental Protection Agency has determined that chrysotile is just as carcinogenic as any other type of asbestos fiber.
Asbestos (the name stands for “asbestos mines of South Africa”) was once primarily used in construction-related products in what is now Zimbabwe. Despite its grayish white appearance under a microscope, amosite is commonly referred to as “brown” asbestos due to its straight, short, needlelike fibers. The second-most popular asbestos fiber in commercial applications, amosite is much more resistant to acids and corrosive seawater than chrysotile, and therefore was widely used by the U.S. Department of Defense for insulating blankets for engines and turbines. Besides asbestos-cement boards and pipes, floor and ceiling tiles, and roofing, it was also popular as electrical and chemical insulation due to its corrosion-resistant properties.
Anthophyllite, one of the rarest forms of asbestos, is mostly mined in Finland, although deposits have been found in North Carolina and Georgia as well. Anthophyllite is a brown to yellowish mineral composed of long, needle-like fibers that are easily inhaled. The scarcity of anthophyllite limited its use in consumer products, but some cement and insulation materials incorporated it. In addition to containing vermiculite in products such as attic insulation and potting soil amendments, anthophyllite can also be found in talcum powder.
Actinolite is commonly used in industrial pipe insulation, but it can also be found in a number of consumer products. It is a brownish mineral with straight fibers. As with vermiculite, actinolite is lightweight and expands when heated, making it ideal for spray-on fireproofing materials used on parking garages and high-rise office towers. In addition to brown, actinolite can also appear gray, green or white, depending on its source location. This type of asbestos was also commonly used in textured paints, wall-joint compounds, plasters, and acoustic ceiling textures.
Tremolite is commonly found near chrysotile asbestos deposits and in talc and vermiculite mines. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that tremolite, which contaminated a major vermiculite mine in Libby, Montana, was once present in attic insulation in approximately 35 million homes. It’s flexible and strong, making it ideal for insulated sound-stage curtains, oven mitts, hot pads, ironing board covers, industrial turbine blankets, fireproof clothing, foundry aprons, roofing felt, and tar paper. It’s easily spun into thread or yarn and woven into cloth, making it ideal for sound-stage curtains, hot pads, ironing board covers, and industrial turbine blankets. According to what mineral deposit it came from, tremolite could have a green, brown, gray or whitish cast.
Crocidolite is a blue mineral with extremely thin fibers that can easily penetrate human tissue. It is considered the most dangerous form of asbestos. Crocidolite is primarily found in South Africa, Australia, and Bolivia and is more brittle than other amphibole forms, which causes products incorporating asbestos fiber to break down more readily and become airborne. In addition to its low heat resistance, Crocidolite is less useful for high-temperature industrial applications, making it more suitable for spray-on insulation. Crocidolite’s properties made it an ideal insulation for containers storing highly corrosive substances, such as battery acid and seawater. Crocidolite was also widely used as wire and cable insulation and as a gasket material for steam pipes and valves.
What Is Asbestos Used For?
Asbestos was incredibly durable and fire-resistant during prehistoric times, and early cultures considered its properties magical. Asbestos was first used by humans 4,500 years ago, in earthenware shards found in Finland, which prove that the fibrous material was used to strengthen and incombustible cooking vessels set over open fires.
By 1720, Russia was manufacturing gloves, socks, and handbags with asbestos fiber. The ancients interlaced asbestos fiber with linen thread to form fireproof textiles.
In Italy, commercial production of asbestos began in 1850, in order to produce paper money and cloth. In 1871, the first factory in Germany was built by industrialist Louis Wertheim to transform asbestos yarn into piston rod packings, boiler casings, and other items. Commercial asbestos production began in the making of paper money and cloth in 1850 in Italy. With the advent of the wet rolling machine in 1899, Austrian industrialist Ludwig Hatschek developed asbestos cement, which launched an industrial juggernaut, which began with the introduction of the Eternit brand asbestos cement roof tiles in 1900.
During the time of World War II, asbestos was widely used in building materials, both for military use and for domestic use. The vast variety of products manufactured with asbestos components eventually exceeded anyone’s expectations. In the 1960s, asbestos production peaked and there were more than 3,000 different types of commercially available consumer products that contained asbestos fibers to some degree.
Within the Home
Because asbestos fiber is widely praised for its sound absorption, resistance to heat, fire, chemicals, and the way it doesn’t conduct electricity, many building and construction trades incorporated asbestos fibers into many products that were available to consumers at any hardware store. In addition, these goods included pipe and attic insulation, ceiling and floor tiles; interior paints, plasters, and wall-joint compound, as well as adhesives and plastics.
At one time, roof shingles and roofing felt, tarpaper, and chimney sealant all contained asbestos. Exterior siding made to look like wood shakes also contained asbestos, as did attic insulation, residential boilers and furnace casings, and insulated radiator pipes that were wrapped in plastic.
In a report released by the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), it is revealed that asbestos is the only toxin that has caused more harm to the public than any other substance. There have been millions of people who have been put at risk for asbestos exposure, including miners who quarried the raw mineral in order to make flooring, roof shingles, and other asbestos-containing products, to workers who labored to make these products, to homeowners who bought and installed asbestos-laden products. Over 27.5 million people were exposed in some way to asbestos at the workplace between 1940 and 1970 alone. In many cases, employers deliberately tried to hide the risks associated with asbestos from unsuspecting workers.
You may have been a plumber or a pipefitter installing steam pipes and insulation in a new home or commercial building. A sheetrock finisher who mixed up (and later sanded) countless buckets of wall joint compound, or an employee in the country’s steel mills. In the course of your duties at steam plants, paper mills, and other industrial sites, you may have come into contact with asbestos dust. Especially if you worked during the mid-20th century.
Many trades during the 1900s were also exposed to asbestos and used asbestos-containing materials due to their work with products that contained asbestos or because they worked around those that did. Below are just some of the trades which would likely have been exposed to asbestos dust because their work was surrounded by the use of asbestos-containing materials in the vicinity:
Among the most common work professions in the United States are: Insulators Pipefitters Shipfitters Boilermakers Crane operators in manufacturing plants Sheetrock finishers Automotive mechanics Steel mill workers Steam plant workers Oil field workers Electricians Floor-and ceiling-tile installers Roofers Builders of houses
In Consumer Products
In the early 1900s, the carcinogenic mineral asbestos was widely used as a component of household products. Products such as attic insulation, textured paints, brake linings, and asphalt roof shingles were some of the more common products that contained asbestos.
Pavement roof shingles Tar paper Roofing felt Plastic cement Flashing cement Mobile home roof patching cement Attic insulation “Popcorn” ceilings Acoustic ceiling tiles Decorative interior paneling made to look like brick Plaster
Health Risks and Dangers of Asbestos
A person who works in an industry where asbestos is used on a daily basis increases their risk of developing an asbestos-related disease the longer they work there. No amount of asbestos is safe to inhale, and every kind of asbestos can cause lung disease. It might only take a single exposure to asbestos for someone whose body is predisposed to asbestos disease to develop an asbestos disease later in life.
Exposure to asbestos, even minor or brief exposure, can cause asbestos disease. For example, a wife or child of a worker who brought asbestos dust into the house on his/her clothes can develop asbestos disease, even if that person never worked with or around asbestos products themselves (this is called household asbestos exposure).
Asbestos exposure can cause several kinds of cancer. Here is a description of each type:
Carcinoma of the Lung
Generally, the longer the asbestos fibers are inhaled, the greater the risk of developing lung cancer or having his non-cancerous asbestos disease progress into lung cancer. A worker who inhaled long-lasting amphibole type asbestos fibers such as amosite and crocidolite is more likely to develop lung cancer than a worker who inhaled chrysotile fibers, which break down more readily in an alkaline environment.
Carcinoma of the Larynx
As with the lung, the larynx is directly in contact with inhaled asbestos fibers. Chronic irritation, such as that caused by tobacco or alcohol, will disrupt airflow enough to allow asbestos fibers and other irritants to accumulate in the larynx. Lung and laryngeal cancers originate in the respiratory epithelium, the outer layer of tissue lining the respiratory tract that moistens and protects the airways.
There are numerous studies to show that colon cancer is more common in males that have been exposed to asbestos. The presence of asbestos-induced pleural plaques in the lungs is associated with a higher chance of developing colon cancer — and in workers diagnosed with non-cancerous asbestosis this is even more prevalent.
An important study followed 11,821 males from 1984 to 2004; either they were exposed to asbestos on a daily basis or they were classified as heavy smokers (twenty or more pack-years of cumulative smoking). The asbestos-exposed smokers had a 36 percent higher colorectal cancer rate than smokers with no asbestos exposure. Those who had previously been diagnosed with pleural abnormalities, such as pleural thickening or asbestosis, had a 54 percent increased risk of developing colon cancer. In fact, the more lung fibrosis (evidence of increased exposure to asbestos) seen on the X-rays of study participants, the more significant their risk for colon cancer.
Mesothelioma — Although different types of mesothelioma exist, all types of mesothelioma have in common the fact that they are caused by asbestos exposure. Malignant mesothelioma is a very aggressive cancer. It is often difficult to treat and always fatal.
Among malignant mesotheliomas, pleural mesothelioma accounts for about 75 percent of cases. It develops in the lining of the lungs, called the pleura.
Peritoneal mesothelioma is an aggressive form of mesothelioma that develops in the lining of the abdomen, known as the peritoneum. It accounts for about twenty percent of all cases, and spreads rapidly from the abdomen to other parts of the body.
It is one of the rarest forms of mesothelioma. Only about one percent of patients with mesothelioma develop pericardial mesothelioma.
During testicular mesothelioma, abnormal cells grow in the tissues that cover the testicles, in a place called the tunica vaginalis. It is the rarest of all mesothelioma tumors, making misdiagnosis very frequent.
Other Asbestos Diseases
Asbestos exposure does not always lead to cancer. Whether you develop a cancer-related asbestos disease (there are several) or a non-cancerous asbestos disease (there are several), here is what you need to know.
The number of years between a person’s first exposure to asbestos and the diagnosis of an asbestos disease is known as the latency period. From ten to 71 years is the duration of time it takes for the immune system’s antibodies to build up scar tissue around each microscopic asbestos fiber trapped in our lungs, larynx, abdomen, or another organ, from which asbestos disease might eventually develop.
Chronic asbestos exposure can also cause a number of other diseases, including cancer. The following is a list:
Occasionally, pleural plaques develop in the lungs. These are areas of thickening and scarring around and between the air sacs (alveoli) in the lung. Fibrosis usually occurs on both sides of the chest, resulting in plaques on the surface of the lung wall where it attaches to the ribcage and diaphragm. Pleural plaques are benign when left on their own. They rarely turn into cancer and they rarely impair breathing. Almost no one who worked with or around asbestos will develop uncalcified pleural plaques over the course of twenty years, while one in three to half of all workers exposed will develop calcified (meaning hardened and stiff) pleural plaques after thirty years.
In spite of the fact that pleural plaques do not cause lung cancer, some studies have shown that people with pleural plaques are more likely to develop lung cancer. They should therefore be screened regularly for changes in their lungs.
Diffuse Pleural Thickening
A diffuse pleural thickening associated with asbestos exposure is a progressive fibrosis of the visceral pleura, which is the delicate serous membrane covering the surface of each lung (the lung parenchyma) and that extends deep into the fissures between the lungs. Often, pleural thickening occurs in a different part of the lung than the development of pleural plaques. Diffuse thickening of the pleura can occur simultaneously with the development of pleural plaques. Workers can develop diffuse pleural thickening within a year of exposure to asbestos, although generally it is not detected and diagnosed until 15 to 30 years later when calcification occurs and the fibrosis becomes easier to see on an X-ray.
Nineteen medical experts from eight countries met in Finland in 1997 to discuss asbestos-induced illnesses. In this meeting, the so-called Helsinki Criteria were formed for defining asbestosis as diffuse pulmonary fibrosis caused by inhalation of asbestos fibers. Asbestos fibers of all types have been implicated in asbestosis. It usually takes more than twenty years between the time of asbestos exposure and the onset of symptoms, which can include chest pain and shortness of breath.
When the scarring around each embedded asbestos fiber progresses, the fibrosis spreads outside the lung until eventually the damaged cells (focal foci) link together, resulting in the widespread scarring pattern characteristic of asbestosis.
Household Asbestos Exposure
As early as 1960, household asbestos exposure was documented. An asbestos disease was diagnosed in relatives of asbestos workers, even though the relatives had never been directly exposed to asbestos. The majority of household exposure to asbestos occurs when millions of microscopic particles of asbestos are released into the air during the installation or removal of many ordinary construction products. Workers collected these fibers while sanding wall-joint compound, mixing powdered plaster, sawing through floor tiles, cutting roof shingles or blowing dust from a wheel well when changing brakes.
Workers who worked at construction, factory, and industrial jobs throughout the 1900s inhaled or ingested those deadly asbestos fibrils, which could penetrate internal organs once inhaled. When they returned home, their spouses and other family members collected the soiled clothing for washing. The majority of female mesothelioma patients report shaking out their husbands’ dusty work clothes before putting them into the washer, causing thick clouds of asbestos-laden dust to rise into the air, where they were inhaled by the person or persons doing the laundry.
Due to the long latency period between asbestos exposure and symptoms, it may take decades before someone who did that clothes-washing years ago suddenly develops shortness of breath or other symptoms.
When Was Asbestos Banned in the U.S.?
The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) banned the use of asbestos in wall patching compounds and artificial fireplace embers in 1977. In 1978, the Environmental Protection Agency banned pre-molded and sprayable asbestos products.
Under Section 6 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TCSA), the EPA banned most asbestos products in the United States in 1989. After asbestos industry lobbyists successfully argued that its timeliness was doubtful, the rule was overturned in 1991 by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
U.S. automakers eventually reduced the use of asbestos in brakes, engine gaskets, and other products even without an outright ban. From its peak in 1978, the amount of asbestos fibers used in American brake manufacturing had fallen by 90 percent by 1998, to 6,000 metric tons per year.
In spite of the EPA’s inability to ban asbestos in the United States, a number of products that contain asbestos have been outlawed in this country, including corrugated paper, rollboard, and flooring felt, all of which were prohibited under the Toxic Substances Control Act in 1989. Asbestos pipe coverings and block insulation, as well as all sprayed-on asbestos products such as fireproofing, were banned under the Clean Air Act in 1973.
Is Asbestos Still Used Today?
Several products containing asbestos fiber are still allowed in the United States, including corrugated cement sheets, flat cement sheets, clothing, roofing felt, vinyl floor tiles, cement shingles, cement pipe, millboard, roof coatings, and automatic transmission components.
Because asbestos was not outright banned, some automobile manufacturers have continued to import asbestos engine gaskets, clutch faces and friction materials, such as disk brake pads and drum brake linings, from other countries for use in American automobiles.
In 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency took a historic step in favor of a complete asbestos ban in the United States. Under the new Lautenberg Act, which modernizes and strengthens the original Toxic Substances Control Act signed into law by President Gerald Ford in 1976, asbestos is one of the first ten high-risk substances to be evaluated and regulated.
The EPA has reviewed and heard public comments on a proposed ban for asbestos for more than ten years, and previously determined that all forms of asbestos are potential carcinogens at any level of exposure. The appointment of EPA chief Scott Pruitt in 2017, who expressed his intention to defer to the asbestos industry shortly after taking office, delayed the effort, however, and the EPA has yet to take up the topic under the next administration.
How to Identify Asbestos
It is not always easy to tell if the products on or inside your walls and other parts of your home contain asbestos if you live in an older house. You need to be cautious when looking for identifying characteristics. If you live in an older home and suspect it contains asbestos, you should have any product tested by a certified asbestos remediation expert.
A few home-finishing products to consider:
Decorative cement siding
When You Think Your Home May Contain Asbestos
Should you panic if you suspect your home contains asbestos? In short, no. Walking on asbestos floor tiles isn’t necessarily hazardous. The presence of asbestos-containing wall-joint compound in interior rooms is no cause for alarm. Popcorn ceilings are not inherently dangerous.
Asbestos fibers are dangerous when disturbed and released into the air, where they can be inhaled. So don’t drag anything across a floor with asbestos tile. Before scraping off that textured ceiling material, ripping up old floor tile, or tearing down old sheetrock walls, consult a certified asbestos abatement company to determine whether asbestos fibers are present. If there is asbestos in your home, let an asbestos abatement expert remove it or encapsulate it for you.
What Should You Do If You Believe You’ve Been Exposed to Asbestos
The symptoms of asbestosis should be monitored carefully by anyone who worked in an industry where asbestos products were manufactured, sold, or utilized. Anyone who develops symptoms of asbestosis, such as shortness of breath or breathing problems, should seek medical attention from a family physician or a lung disease specialist. Someone who has been diagnosed with asbestosis should consult their physician if they cough up blood, lose weight without trying, are short of breath, have chest pain, develop a sudden fever of 101°F (38.3°C) or higher, or develop unfamiliar, unexplained symptoms.
What To Do If You Have Been diagnosed With an Asbestos Disease
You have many important decisions to make if you have been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma or another asbestos cancer.
How should you approach your treatment?
What kind of support system can you build to get you through this trying time?
You may have to travel across the country for medical treatment, which could be quite expensive. How will you pay for it?
What are your options for finding the right doctor and hospital to treat your cancer?
If you can no longer work, how will you provide for your family?
How will you leave a legacy to your children and family members?
All of these factors are critical to consider as you move forward following mesothelioma or another asbestos-related cancer diagnosis. Here are some options to consider:
Seeking medical help – Mesothelioma is an aggressive, difficult to treat cancer. A tumor is carved out, lungs removed, and mesothelial linings are removed from the organs they protect. This leaves exposed, raw nerve endings, which can cause excruciating pain. It is crucial to be sure that your oncology team is familiar with asbestos disease and the most effective treatment options for your malignancy.
Dealing with the disease: After a diagnosis of mesothelioma, chemotherapy is often recommended before surgery. The side effects of chemotherapy are usually debilitating to some degree and may include nausea, mental haziness, and extreme fatigue. These may require the patient to rest and recover before surgery. If surgery is performed, a recovery period of about ten weeks can be expected. During this time, patients will spend about one to two weeks in the hospital, and the rest of their recovery at home. Before being discharged from the hospital, physical therapy will teach patients how to manage their coughing.
After surgical recovery, some patients may begin post-surgical treatments such as radiation or chemotherapy before they are discharged from the hospital. Once they return home, the patient will continue these treatments on an outpatient basis. Most people feel more comfortable when their surgical recovery is complete, but they still experience discomfort immediately following surgery and from the side effects of adjuvant therapy.
Basic steps like improving diet and nutrition, promoting better sleep habits, and reducing inflammation and emotional stress can help patients feel better and help their bodies fight back at the same time. Stress-reducing techniques such as guided imagery, massage, meditation, and yoga are also excellent ways for patients to cope with anxiety, fear, pain, and depression.
Leaving a legacy –
Fear of recurrence, as well as feelings of anger, sadness, and anxiety that will accompany them, are inescapable consequences of having such a serious illness. It may come to a point where the cancer does return or all of the available treatment options are exhausted. At that point, patients should consider that additional treatments are unlikely to improve their health or change their outcome, and that side effects from continued treatment could severely diminish the quality of life they have remaining.
As mesothelioma progresses and there is no more to be gained from continuing curative treatment, hospice care can be arranged to focus on quality rather than length of life. Hospice care can be provided in the patient’s home. It focuses on a patient’s comfort. While cancer treatments may have ended, the side effects from some of them may continue. Hospice care focuses on relieving uncomfortable symptoms so that a patient can live as fully and comfortably as possible.
The children of parents who die from diseases like mesothelioma often feel as though they did not get to know their parent as an adult. A legacy document, prepared on one’s own or with the aid of a dignity therapist, creates a written or recorded oral account of the events in a patient’s life that gave that life meaning or had an significant impact, documenting what dreams individuals may have nurtured for their children or themselves, their most momentous life encounters, what meaningful roles they played in their lives, and what they would like most to pass along to those they’ll leave behind in the form of life experiences or tender sentiments.
Fighting back against the asbestos companies that sickened you –
In the United States, approximately 3,000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year, according to the American Cancer Society. The chances of eventually being diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma or another asbestos disease are very slight if you spent your working life in an industry that used asbestos. There are many things to consider after receiving such a devastating diagnosis. Your longtime job might have exposed you to asbestos. Or you might be unaware of how you came into contact with asbestos.
Filing a lawsuit –
You must also consider filing a mesothelioma lawsuit in addition to the essential steps in health care. In order to fight back against corporations that hid medical information about the deadly effects of asbestos fibers, one of the most important things you can do is file a lawsuit against the companies responsible for your injuries. There is no better way to deter corporate greed than to hit malfeasant manufacturers where it hurts: in their pockets.
The following points should be considered before filing a lawsuit:
While the restrictions vary from state to state, in every state there is a limited time to file a lawsuit. Your right to seek compensation for mesothelioma cancer is forever lost if you fail to file a lawsuit within this time period. In most states, you have up to three years after your doctor diagnoses mesothelioma before you can file a mesothelioma lawsuit. This is known as the Statute of Limitations.
Several horror stories have been told about innocent citizens who sue a business for wrongdoing. In no time at all, their case mushroomed into an expensive boondoggle, with lawyers on both sides mounting exorbitant bills for endless telephone conferences, court hearings, and back and forth letter-writing. Conscious cost-management is an important factor to consider when selecting a company.
Upon receiving a diagnosis of mesothelioma, you should select a law firm that will handle your case on a contingency-fee basis. It is an agreed-upon percentage of the total amount of the lawsuit’s proceeds. Settlements, verdicts, or asbestos bankruptcy trust claims can result in these proceeds. You pay nothing up front, and you don’t have to pay any legal fees or expenses unless you obtain compensation. If your lawyers are successful in obtaining a settlement for your case, then the agreed-to percentage is taken as a fee, plus court costs and expenses.
An attorney who works on a contingency fee basis will only be paid if you receive a favorable outcome.
You will want to select a mesothelioma law firm with an impeccable track record. Choose a firm with decades of positive results for its clients, a firm that fights for what is right, and fights hard. You will want to choose a legal team that is among the best in the business, one whose cases are painstakingly researched and expertly prepared. You want your legal representatives to be thoroughly equipped to go all the way to trial with every case they file. Make sure you choose a team that doesn’t advertise for asbestos cases and then hand them off to other firms to process. Be certain to pick a firm that does all the work themselves and is proud of it.
King Law Firm has handled the lawsuits of mesothelioma patients across North Carolina. We have an established a track record of success for our clients that goes back more than forty years. We have the resources and experience to tackle the biggest corporations and will not shy away from a fight. We have accumulated a massive database of information about worksites and asbestos companies and how individuals were exposed to those companies’ dangerous asbestos products. Our highly skilled mesothelioma attorneys specialize in representing clients who have been tragically diagnosed with this devastating disease. We represent our clients with integrity and compassion.
From the day you file your mesothelioma lawsuit until the day you receive compensation – and beyond, King Law Firm will be here for you with the assistance and the resources you need as you battle mesothelioma and the companies responsible for causing your asbestos exposure.
WHAT IS ASBESTOS
Asbestos is a type of naturally occurring mineral. In its normal, rocky state, asbestos is not harmful. However, asbestos can be crushed into soft, flexible fibers, a unique attribute in the mineral world. The silky, pliable fibers can be woven into cloth, pressed into felt, and incorporated into products large and small.
The reason asbestos became such a popular component of so many industrial and consumer goods is that the mineral is fire-resistant, corrosion-resistant, soundproof and incredibly strong. It is also extremely lightweight, inexpensive to extract from the earth, and plentiful.
Fibrous asbestos is known to cause a rare but very aggressive cancer called mesothelioma, as well as lung cancer, other cancers, and diseases such as asbestosis. This happens when the microscopic particles of asbestos fiber are inhaled or ingested into the body and become lodged in the lungs and other internal organs.
What Is the Source of Asbestos?
Asbestos fibers can be categorized into six distinct types, all of which originate from the naturally occurring rocky minerals serpentine and amphibole. Only chrysotile asbestos is found in serpentine rock. Amphibole deposits produce amosite, anthophyllite, actinolite, tremolite, and crocidolite.
Asbestos mining in the United States began when the Johns Company, predecessor to Johns Manville, began operating its first anthophyllite mine on Staten Island in New York in 1858. Belvidere Mountain in northern Vermont was discovered to contain large asbestos deposits in 1899. Within a century, six million tons of asbestos had been mined across the globe each year.
The asbestos industry began in the 1870s when soft, silk-like asbestos fibers were woven into textiles. It was soon possible to create plied yarns made from asbestos fibers dispersed across multiple strands of wool or cotton, which, when twisted, gave the yarn a uniform heat- and corrosion-resistant quality.
In 1883, asbestos textiles were mixed with rubber to make aprons and other protective garments for foundry workers to protect against spattering molten metal, welding sparks, and the concentrated heat from blast furnaces. The result was oven mitts, stove mats, ironing board covers, and many other household goods like toasters, steam irons, and hair dryers. It wasn’t until the 1950s that many US building codes allowed asbestos use, such as stage curtains and asbestos-cement roof shingles.
Before 1960, most asbestos mining operations were located on the east coast, where manufacturers who incorporated the fiber into their products were more numerous. The last asbestos mine in the United States closed in 2002 when the King City Asbestos Company chrysotile mine in west central California, which was owned by Union Carbide until 1985, closed.
Various Types Of Asbestos
There are six different types of fibrous asbestos; all of them come from serpentine and amphibole. Chrysotile is the only type of asbestos found in serpentine. Amphibole deposits produce amosite, anthophyllite, actinolite, tremolite, and crocidolite. They’re all deadly, but some are worse than others. The colors of asbestos are blue, brown, yellow, white, and green.
Chrysotile is the only mineral of the serpentine group to be found in nature and it is the most common form of asbestos. Chrysotile has been used in approximately ninety percent of commercial products throughout the world. Historically used to insulate asbestos cement, textiles, brake linings, clutch facings, ropes, and yarns, chrysotile has curly fibers that are easily lodged inside the body. Under a microscope, these fibers appear white. Even though medical professionals hired by asbestos companies assert that chrysotile is not as toxic as other types of asbestos, studies have confirmed, and the Environmental Protection Agency has ruled, that chrysotile is just as carcinogenic as any other type of asbestos.
It was used primarily in construction products. Amosite (the name stands for “asbestos mines of South Africa”) is found almost exclusively in what is now Zimbabwe. Despite its grayish white appearance under the microscope, amosite is usually referred to as “brown” asbestos due to its short, straight, needlelike fibers. A 2nd-most popular asbestos fiber for commercial applications, amosite is far more resistant to acids and corrosive seawater than chrysotile and, as a result, was widely used by the U.S. military in insulating blankets for marine engines and turbines as well as other water-borne applications. Additionally, asbestos-cement was used in asbestos-cement boards, asbestos cement pipes, asbestos cement flooring and roofing, and asbestos cement was also used as chemical and electrical insulation due to its high corrosion resistance.
Anthophyllite, one of the rarest forms of asbestos, is mostly mined in Finland, although deposits have been found in North Carolina and Georgia as well. Anthophyllite is a brown to yellowish mineral composed of long, needle-like fibers that are easily inhaled. Because of its scarcity, anthophyllite was not widely used in consumer products, but was used in cement and insulation. Anthophyllite can also be found in vermiculite-containing products, such as attic insulation, potting soil amendments, and talcum powder.
Actinolite is commonly used as industrial pipe insulation, but can also be found in a variety of consumer products. This mineral is usually brownish and possesses straight fibers. In similar fashion to vermiculite, actinolite is lightweight and expands when heated, thereby making it an ideal material for spray-on fireproofing applications on the structures of parking garages and high-rise office buildings. In addition to brown, actinolite can appear gray, green, or white, depending on its source. Apart from being used as a fireproofing material, this type of asbestos was also used commonly in textured paints, joint compounds, plasters and acoustical ceiling textures.
There is a high probability that Tremolite can be found in talc and vermiculite mines as well as near chrysotile asbestos deposits. In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency reports that the mineral tremolite, which contaminated a major vermiculite mine in Libby, Montana, was once present in the attic insulation of approximately 35 million homes. Strenuous and flexible, tremolite is perfect for making tapestries and curtains, as well as industrial turbine blankets, ironing board covers, fire-proof clothing, foundry aprons, roofing felt, and tar paper. It can be easily spun into thread or yarn to make clothes, which makes it ideal for things such as sound-stage curtains, oven mitts, hot pads, ironing board covers, and roofing felt and tar paper. As a transparent mineral, tremolite can have a green, brown, gray or even a white cast, depending on the mineral deposit from which it originates.
Crocidolite is blue in color and has extremely thin fibers that can penetrate tissue with ease. It is considered to be the most hazardous form of asbestos. Crocidolite is found primarily in South Africa, Australia, and Bolivia, and is more brittle than other amphiboles. Therefore, products containing crocidolite asbestos fiber are more likely to break down and become airborne. Its low thermal conductivity makes Crocidolite an ideal material for spray-on insulation, as it cannot be used in applications requiring extremely high temperatures. Crocidolite’s insulating properties made it popular for containers that store highly corrosive substances, including battery acid and seawater. As well as wire and cable insulation, crocidolite was used to seal steam pipes and valves.
What Is Asbestos Used For?
Asbestos was incredibly durable and fire-resistant in prehistoric times, but little was known about it. Early cultures believed its properties to be magical. It has been shown that humans first used asbestos 4,500 years ago, in shards of earthenware found in Finland, indicating that the fibrous material was used to strengthen and insulate early cooking vessels.
Textiles were the first major source of asbestos production. Asbestos fibers were woven with linen thread to form primitive fireproof textiles. Asbestos fiber was used in the manufacture of gloves, socks, and handbags by 1720.
It is estimated that commercial asbestos production began in Italy about 1850, when paper money and cloth were made from asbestos. The first modern industrial use of asbestos was in 1871, when industrialist Louis Wertheim built a factory in Germany to manufacture piston rod packings, boiler casings, and other goods from asbestos yarn. He introduced Eternit brand asbestos cement roof tiles in 1900, launching an industrial juggernaut that began with his development of asbestos cement with a wet rolling machine in 1899.
During World War II, asbestos was widely used in both military and domestic building materials. Over time, the number and variety of products manufactured with asbestos components far exceeded anyone’s expectations. During the height of asbestos production in the 1960s, more than 3,000 different types of commercially available consumer products contained asbestos fibers to some extent.
Asbestos in the Home
Building and construction trades used asbestos fibers in many products available at hardware stores that were widely praised for their sound absorption, resistance to heat, fire, and chemicals, and because asbestos does not conduct electricity. Among these items were pipe and attic insulation, ceiling and floor tiles; interior paints, plasters, and wall-joint compound, as well as adhesives and plastics.
Asbestos was once found in roof shingles and roofing felt, tar-paper and chimney sealants. Aside from siding made to look like wood shakes, attic insulation, boiler and furnace casings, and insulated radiator pipes also contained asbestos.
Asbestos in the Workplace
No toxic substance has caused more harm to the public than asbestos, according to a report from the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Many people have been put at risk for asbestos exposure, from the miners who quarried the raw material to the factory, to the workers who made floor-tiles, roof shingles, and other asbestos-containing products, to the homeowners who bought and installed asbestos-laden products. Over 27.5 million people were potentially exposed to asbestos at work between 1940 and 1970. Employers intentionally withheld asbestos dangers from unsuspecting employees in many cases.
You might have been a plumber or pipefitter who installed steam pipes and insulation in a new home or commercial building, or a sheetrock finisher who mixed up (and later sanded) countless buckets of wall joint compound. If you worked in steel mills, steam plants, paper mills, and other industrial facilities during the middle of the 20th century, you were probably exposed to asbestos dust while performing your duties. The following are examples of jobsites where asbestos was used from the 1940s to the 1970s:
Ceiling tile mills
Floor tile mills
Asbestos textile mills
Brake shoe factories
Wire and cable manufacturers
Gasket and packing manufacturers
Boiler and turbine manufacturers
Roof tile and asphalt shingle factories
Roofing felt and paper manufacturers
Plastic cement and roof coating manufacturers
Textured paint, plaster and stucco manufacturers
Cement pipe manufacturers
Pump and valve manufacturers
Drilling mud manufacturers
Cement siding manufacturers
Throughout the 1900s, many trades were exposed to asbestos because they worked with asbestos-containing products or worked near those who did. The following are some trades that likely would have been exposed to asbestos dust if asbestos-containing materials were used close by:
Crane operators inside manufacturing plants
Steel mill workers
Steam plant workers
Floor- and ceiling-tile installers
Throughout the middle of the past century, the carcinogenic mineral asbestos was incorporated into numerous household products that were widely available to consumers. Products as diverse as attic insulation, textured paints, brake linings, and asphalt roof shingles all contained asbestos. Below are some of the more common consumer products that contained asbestos in the 1900s:
Asphalt roof shingles
Mobile home roof patching cement
Decorative cement siding
Acoustic ceiling tile
Decorative interior paneling made to look like bricks
Risks and Dangers of Asbestos
There is no amount of asbestos that is safe to breathe in, and every type of asbestos can cause lung disease. The longer a person works in an industry that uses asbestos on a daily basis, the greater their risk of developing an asbestos-related disease. For those whose bodies are predisposed to asbestos disease, a single exposure to asbestos could be all it takes to develop asbestos disease later on in life.
Exposure to asbestos, no matter how brief or minimal, can cause asbestos disease. For example, asbestos disease can develop many years later in wives and children of workers exposed to asbestos dust from working clothes (referred to as household asbestos exposure). Even though they never worked with or around asbestos products themselves.
Asbestos exposure can cause several types of cancer. Here are some examples:
Carcinoma of the Lung
In general, the longer the fibers an individual inhales, the greater the chance he or she will develop lung cancer or have his or her non-cancerous asbestos disease progress to lung cancer. Inhaling amphibole type asbestos fibers, such as amosite and crocidolite, which do not break down as readily in alkaline environments, was more likely to cause lung cancer in workers than inhaling chrysotile fibers, which can cause non-cancerous asbestos diseases.
Carcinoma of the Larynx
As with the lung, asbestos fibers travel directly to the larynx. Inflammation or damage to the vocal folds, whether from tobacco use or alcohol consumption, or from other chronic irritation, disrupts airflow enough to cause the larynx to collect asbestos fibers and other irritants. The respiratory epithelium, a layer of tissue that lines the respiratory tract and keeps it moist and protected, is responsible for cancers of the larynx and lungs.
Asbestos exposure has been associated with an increased risk of colon cancer in males. Pleural plaques caused by asbestos in the lungs are associated with a higher incidence of colon cancer – and even more so in workers diagnosed with noncancerous asbestosis.
A significant study, spanning 20 years, followed 11,821 men who were exposed to asbestos daily or who were heavy smokers (more than 20 years of cumulative use of tobacco). Smokers exposed to asbestos had a 36 percent higher rate of colorectal cancer than smokers without asbestos exposure. Workers exposed to asbestos who already had pleural abnormalities, such as pleural thickening or asbestosis, had a 54 percent increased risk. The more lung fibrosis (evidence of increased asbestos exposure) found in X-rays of study participants, the higher their risk of colon cancer.
Although there are different types of mesothelioma tumors and different types of mesothelioma cells, all forms of mesothelioma have as their main cause asbestos exposure. An aggressive form of cancer, malignant mesothelioma, can be fatal. Treatment is difficult, and it is always fatal.
Around 75 percent of mesothelioma cases involve pleural mesothelioma. Pneumatic mesothelioma develops in the lining of the lungs, or pleura.
The peritoneum is the lining of the abdomen where mesothelioma develops. Approximately twenty percent of all cases of mesothelioma are of this type. Unlike other mesotheliomas, peritoneal mesothelioma spreads rapidly from the abdomen to other parts of the body.
One of the rarest forms of mesothelioma is pericardial mesothelioma. Pericardial cancer occurs in the lining of the heart, also known as the pericardium. Pericardial mesothelioma develops in only about one percent of all mesothelioma patients.
Mesothelioma of the testicles develops in the tunica vaginalis, which lines the testicles. As it is the rarest form of mesothelioma cancer, misdiagnosis is quite common.
Other Types of Asbestos Diseases
Cancer does not always result from asbestos exposure. Here are some important things to know, regardless of whether you develop an asbestos-related cancer or a non-cancerous asbestos disease.
Latency periods are the years that pass between a person’s first exposure to asbestos and their diagnosis of an asbestos-related disease. An asbestos disease may develop after ten to 71 years, which is the time it takes for the immune system’s antibodies to form scar tissue around each microscopic asbestos fiber trapped in our lungs, larynx, abdomen, or another organ caused by asbestos exposure.
A number of other asbestos-related diseases can also develop as a result of chronic exposure to asbestos. This list includes:
The pleural plaques are thickenings and scarrings around and between the air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs. The fibrosis usually occurs on both sides of the chest and presents as plaques on the surface of the lung wall where it attaches to the ribcage and diaphragm. By themselves, pleural plaques are harmless. They rarely cause cancer, and they rarely impair breathing. Typically, only five to fifteen percent of people who worked with and around asbestos develop a pleural plaque twenty years after their first exposure, but the number of people developing a calcified pleural plaque after thirty years jumps to between a third and half of all workers who are exposed to asbestos.
Studies show that people with pleural plaques are more likely to develop lung cancer, and should therefore be regularly screened for lung changes. Pleural plaques do not cause lung cancer, but some studies have found that people with pleural plaques are more likely to develop lung cancer.
Diffuse Pleural Thickening
An asbestos-related diffuse pleural thickening is an extensive fibrosis of the visceral pleura, the delicate serous membrane covering the surface of each lung (the lung parenchyma) that extends into the fissures between the lobes. A diffuse (meaning widespread) pleural thickening may occur at the same time as pleural plaques, but it usually occurs in another region of the lung. Workers may begin to experience diffuse pleural thickening within a year of exposure to asbestos, but generally, it is not discovered and diagnosed until 15 to 30 years later when calcification occurs and the fibrosis becomes obvious in X-rays.
Nineteen medical experts from eight countries met in Finland in 1997 to discuss asbestos-induced disorders. As a result of this meeting, the so-called Helsinki Criteria were developed for defining asbestosis as diffuse pulmonary fibrosis caused by inhalation of asbestos fibers. The development of asbestosis has been linked to all types of asbestos. The time between asbestos exposure and the onset of symptoms, which can include chest pain and shortness of breath, is usually more than twenty years.
As each embedded asbestos fiber scars, the fibrosis spreads farther and farther throughout the lungs until eventually the foci (damaged cells) link together, resulting in the widespread scarring pattern that is characteristic of asbestosis.
Exposure to Asbestos In The Household
As early as 1960, secondhand exposure to asbestos was documented in the home. Asbestos-related diseases have been diagnosed in relatives of asbestos workers, even though they never worked directly with asbestos. Workers were typically exposed to asbestos when microscopic asbestos particles were released into the air as they installed and removed ordinary construction products.
Workers who worked at construction, factory, and industrial jobs throughout the 1900s inhaled and ingested asbestos fibers so thin they can penetrate internal organs. Their spouses and other family members collected the soiled clothes to be washed once they returned home. Most female mesothelioma patients report shaking out their husbands’ dusty work clothes before putting them in the washer, causing thick clouds of asbestos-laden dust to rise into the air, where they were breathed in by the person who did the laundry.
A person who did all that clothes washing decades ago might not develop symptoms of asbestos disease for decades due to the long latency period between exposure to asbestos and its onset.
What Year Was Asbestos Banned in the U.S.?
Asbestos in wall patching compounds and artificial fireplace embers were banned by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in 1977. In 1978 the EPA banned pre-molded and sprayable asbestos products.
The EPA banned most asbestos products in the United States in 1989 under Section 6 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TCSA). In 1991, however, asbestos industry lobbyists successfully argued that the rule’s deadliness was doubtful, and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned it.
Despite the absence of an outright ban on asbestos products in the United States, product liability lawsuits eventually forced U.S. automakers to reduce the use of asbestos in brakes, engine gaskets and other products. From its peak in 1978, asbestos fibers were used in brake manufacturing in America for 6,000 metric tons per year by 1998.
However, a number of asbestos-containing products, including corrugated paper, rollboard and flooring felt, have been outlawed in this country under a variety of federal injunctions, despite the EPA’s inability to get the substance banned in the United States. All of these products were prohibited under the Toxic Substances Control Act in 1989. Under the Clean Air Act of 1973, asbestos pipe coverings and insulation, as well as sprayed-on asbestos materials, including fireproofing, were banned.
Is Asbestos Still In Use Today?
In the United States, asbestos fibers can still be found in many products, such as corrugated cement sheets, flat cement sheets, clothing, roofing felt, vinyl floor tiles, cement shingles, cement pipe, millboard, roof coatings, and automatic transmission components.
Some automobile manufacturers are continuing to import asbestos engine gaskets, clutch facings and friction materials, such as brake pads and drum brake linings for use in American automobiles since asbestos wasn’t banned outright.
In 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency took a historic step by prioritizing a complete asbestos ban in the U.S. Under the new Lautenberg Act, which modernizes and strengthens the original Toxic Substances Control Act signed by President Gerald Ford in 1976, asbestos was one of the first ten high-risk substances evaluated and regulated.
Following a review of more than one hundred studies on the health risks associated with asbestos, and after hearing public comments on a proposed ban, the EPA concluded that all forms of asbestos are potentially carcinogenic at any level of exposure. Scott Pruitt, appointed EPA head in 2017, who expressed his intentions to defer to the asbestos industry shortly after taking office, delayed the effort, and the EPA has yet to take up the topic under the new administration.
How to Identify Asbestos
It is sometimes difficult to tell if walls and other parts of your home contain asbestos if you live in an older house. Even though there are some identifying characteristics to look for, it is best to err on the side of caution. It is best to get any product tested by a certified asbestos remediation expert if you live in an older home and suspect it may contain asbestos.
Consider these home-finishing products:
- Popcorn ceilings
- Ceiling tiles
- Floor tiles
- Decorative cement siding
What Should You Do If You Think You Have Asbestos in Your Home?
If you believe your house contains asbestos, what should you do? It is not necessarily dangerous to walk on asbestos floor tiles. There is no need to be alarmed by interior rooms made of sheetrock and wall-joint compound that contains asbestos. Popcorn ceilings are not necessarily dangerous.
Asbestos fibers can be inhaled when they are disturbed and released into the air. If you have asbestos tile on the floor, don’t drag anything across it. You shouldn’t scrape off that textured ceiling material, rip up old floor tiles or remove old sheetrock walls until you’ve consulted a certified asbestos abatement company. Let an asbestos abatement expert remove it or encapsulate it if you’ve got it in your house.
Asbestos Exposure: What To Do
Medical experts recommend monitoring your health carefully for symptoms of asbestos disease if you worked in an industry that used, manufactured, sold, or sold asbestos products. Asbestosis symptoms, such as shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, should be evaluated by a physician or lung specialist. If someone with asbestosis coughs up blood, loses weight without trying, is short of breath, has chest pain, or develops an unexplained fever of 101°F (38.3°C), they should notify their doctor.
What You Should Do In The Event Of An Asbestos-Related Disease
When you have been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma or another asbestos cancer, you must make many important decisions.
- Is there a treatment you should seek?
- Can you build a support system that will help you through this difficult time?
- Considering that you may have to travel across the country to get treatment, what will you do about paying for expensive medical care?
- What are your options for finding the right doctor and hospital to treat your cancer?
- If you are unable to work, how will you support your family?
- In what ways will you leave a legacy for your children and other family members?
In the wake of a mesothelioma or asbestos cancer diagnosis, all of these points are essential to consider. Here are some options to think about:
Getting medical help
Despite being rare, malignant mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer that can be extremely difficult to treat. When tumors are removed, lungs are removed, and mesothelial linings are removed, exposed nerve endings are left behind, a source of excruciating pain. You should ensure your oncology team has experience in asbestos disease and the best practices for treating your particular malignancy before going ahead with any treatment.
Dealing with Mesothelioma
Before surgery, chemotherapy may be recommended once mesothelioma has been diagnosed. As a rule, chemotherapy is generally debilitating to some degree and may include a number of serious side effects, such as nausea, mental haziness, and extreme fatigue, which could require the patient to rest and recover before surgery is scheduled. An approximate ten-week recovery period can be expected after surgery. The average patient will stay in the hospital for one to two weeks and then recover at home for the remainder of their recovery. Patients will be taught breathing exercises and how to manage coughing before they are discharged from the hospital.
Once the patient is discharged from the hospital, they will continue outpatient treatment, such as radiation or chemotherapy. In spite of the fact that most people feel more comfortable once surgical recovery is complete, some people experience discomfort following surgery and from adjuvant therapy side effects.
In addition to improving diet and nutrition, reducing inflammation and reducing emotional stress, patients can help their bodies fight back and feel noticeably better at the same time through simple lifestyle changes. Stress-reduction techniques like guided imagery, massage, meditation, and yoga can also help patients cope with anxiety, fear, pain, and depression.
Leaving A Legacy For Your Loved Ones
When facing such a serious illness, anger, sadness, and anxiety will accompany the fear of recurrence. It may happen that the cancer returns, or that all treatments are exhausted for a patient. During this time, patients should consider that additional treatments will not improve their health or change the outcome, and that side effects of continued treatment may, instead, substantially reduce their quality of life.
The goal of hospice care is to focus on quality rather than length of life once mesothelioma has progressed to a point where more treatment cannot be provided. Patients generally receive hospice care at home. The focus is primarily on the comfort of a patient. Some side effects of cancer treatments may persist even after cancer treatments have ended. Hospice care aims to relieve discomforting symptoms in order to allow a patient to live life as fully and as comfortably as possible.
Taking action against the asbestos companies that sickened you
Each year in the United States, roughly 3,000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma, according to the American Cancer Society. A person who has spent most of their professional careers associated with an asbestos-using industry probably stands a chance, no matter how slight, of eventually being diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma or another asbestos-associated disease. A devastating diagnosis such as this brings a lot of considerations for you or someone you love. Perhaps you were exposed to asbestos through your longtime job. Or maybe you didn’t even know you were exposed.
Filing a lawsuit
As well as preparing for the essential health care tasks before you, you will need to prepare to file a mesothelioma lawsuit. To fight back against companies that intentionally concealed information about the deadly effects of asbestos fibers on the human body, one of the most important things you can do is to file a lawsuit against the companies responsible. There is no better deterrent against corporate greed than hitting malfeasant manufacturers where it hurts: in their pockets.
The following points should be considered before filing a lawsuit:
Even though the restrictions vary from state to state, there is a limited period to file a lawsuit in every state. Your mesothelioma cancer lawsuit will be forever barred if you do not file it within this time period. The statute of limitations for filing a mesothelioma lawsuit begins only when your doctor diagnoses your disease. It is called a Statute of Limitations.
Some people have experienced the horror stories: Innocent citizens sue businesses for wrongdoing, and in no time their lawsuit mushroomed into an exorbitant boondoggle with lawyers on both sides running up costly bills for endless telephone conferences and court hearings, while spending exorbitant amounts of time writing letters back and forth. It is important to choose a company that is conscientious about costs.
You should choose a law firm that will handle your lawsuit on a contingency-fee basis if you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma. An agreed-upon percentage of the total lawsuit proceeds is a contingency fee. Proceeds may be obtained through a settlement, a verdict, or an asbestos bankruptcy trust claim. Unless compensation is obtained for you, you don’t have to pay any expenses or legal fees up front. In the event that your lawyers are successful in achieving an award for your case, the agreed-to percentage is taken as a fee, plus court costs and expenses. Contingency-fee law firms only get paid if they achieve a positive outcome for you.
You should choose a mesothelioma law firm with a solid track record. Find a firm that fights for what’s right, and a firm that doesn’t back down. If you’re going to hire a legal team, make sure they’re the best in the business, one who meticulously researches and prepares their cases. Your legal team needs to be fully prepared for every case they take to court.
King Law Firm only handles Mesothelioma cases for North Carolina residents. Over the past thirty plus years, we have established a track record of success for our clients. We have the resources and the experience to take on the biggest corporations. Hundreds of thousands of records have been compiled about asbestos companies, work sites, and individuals exposed to those companies’ dangerous asbestos products. The highly skilled mesothelioma lawyers at our firm specialize in representing clients who have tragically been diagnosed with this disease. Our clients receive compassionate service from us.
King Law Firm will be here for you from the day you file your mesothelioma lawsuit until you receive compensation – and beyond – so you can battle mesothelioma and the companies responsible for your asbestos exposure with the assistance and resources you need.