Whether you're a life-long Pittsburgher or a "transplant," as the colloquial term expresses it, if you work in certain areas of this city or surrounding Pennsylvania regions, you may be at risk for numerous adverse health conditions because of asbestos. It's impossible to know if you are in a building or room that contains asbestos if you're judging by what you see. That's because it is microscopic.
There are specific tests to do to check air quality and to confirm whether a particular building, house or material contains asbestos. In the workplace, your employer has an obligation to inform you if there is a known asbestos danger on the job. Your employer must also provide proper training and any available safety equipment to help keep you and your co-workers as safe as possible.
Ways asbestos gets into your body
When microscopic fibers enter your body, it means they were likely airborne at some point. Since you can't see asbestos without a microscope, you wouldn't necessarily know if it was affecting the air quality around you. You have to breathe. However, if you breathe air that contains asbestos, the fibers can enter your nasal passages or your mouth.
After inhaling or ingesting asbestos, it can make its way to your lungs, abdomen or other parts of your body. It can also cause you to develop serious, incurable diseases, such as mesothelioma or asbestosis.
How do you know if you inhaled or ingested asbestos?
The thing about most asbestos-related injuries is that they are typically not immediately apparent. In fact, you might have an illness developing in your body for years before symptoms surface. Such symptoms might include coughing, chest pain, abdominal or other bodily discomfort, lack of appetite, unexplained weight loss or fatigue.
If you think it is even remotely possible that you contracted an illness in the workplace, it is always best to seek a medical diagnosis. The problem is that many people overlook symptoms related to asbestos illnesses, thinking they must have a mild virus, such as a cold or the flu. This is why it is critical to rule out possible underlying causes of illness if you have not been feeling well and you don't seem to be getting any better.
What if your doctor diagnoses a terminal illness?
There is no way to recover from mesothelioma or other asbestos illnesses. These diseases are incurable. The focus for patients in such situations is usually to alleviate discomfort to achieve as high quality a life as possible as the disease progresses. If employer negligence is a causal factor to your poor health, you may also want to speak with someone who is well-versed in asbestos litigation laws.