Asbestos exposure: an ongoing public health concern

Asbestos exposure continues to cause cases of mesothelioma, asbestosis and other diseases.

Despite decades of federal and state regulation governing the use of asbestos, thousands are still dealing with the aftereffects of asbestos exposure. Furthermore, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently revealed that they are still considering asbestos an "ongoing public health concern" due to the new cases of mesothelioma, asbestosis, silicosis and other asbestos-related conditions that are diagnosed every day.

The CDC reports that over 45,000 people died from malignant mesothelioma caused by asbestos exposure between 1999 and 2015. This is in spite of there being guidelines and regulations from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Environmental Protection Agency for nearly 50 years. There was a sizable increase in asbestos-connected deaths for people under the age of 55; sadly, this means that decades of regulation haven't been sufficient to remove asbestos from current building sites and workplaces.

Even minor exposure can lead to major complications

Asbestos fibers can, when inhaled, become trapped in lung tissue or in the tissue of the thin membranes that line the chest and abdominal cavity. This sets off a chain reaction of inflammatory responses throughout the patient, eventually resulting in scarring, irritation, lung cancer, pleural mesothelioma, peritoneal mesothelioma or other conditions. The CDC also suspects that asbestos is contributing to the development of other cancers as well, including cancers of the larynx, ovaries, colon, pharynx and stomach.

The span of time between initial asbestos exposure and the onset of symptoms (and eventual diagnosis) can be years or decades, depending on the initial level of exposure. This makes diagnosis difficult in many cases, because sometimes people cannot even remember working at a job 10, 20, 30 years ago or more where asbestos could have been present.

"Ground zero" for new cases?

It has been nearly 16 years now since the tragic events of September 11, 2001, when the World Trade Center was destroyed and the Pentagon suffered heavy damage. In addition to being the sites of horrific terrorist attacks, these buildings had something else in common: heavy asbestos contamination within their structures.

It is anticipated that we may soon start to see the development of asbestos-related diseases among countless first responders, emergency workers and survivors of the attacks who were exposed to massive amounts of asbestos in site debris. Given the lengthy incubation period of these conditions (averaging between 20 and 50 years, but the higher the initial level of exposure, the faster that complications arise), thousands more cases could develop in the coming decades.

Despite decades of regulation, asbestos continues to cause illness and deaths to countless American workers. If you or someone you love was exposed to asbestos on the job and have now developed an asbestos-related condition, you have legal rights. Contact the skilled injury attorneys at Savinis & Kane, L.L.C. for a free consultation to discuss your case. You can call us toll free at 866-473-7545, locally in the Pittsburgh area at 412-567-4931 or send us an email.