Pennsylvania residents should be aware that asbestos is a mineral once widely used in building materials and still used in automotive equipment like brakes and clutches. While the U.K. banned asbestos outright in 1999, the U.S. has no ban in place, though it is no longer mined. Workers, especially shipyard workers, construction workers and auto mechanics, should know what the signs of asbestos poisoning are.

The first symptom will be shortness of breath because, when the asbestos fibers are inhaled, they will scar the lung tissue. Everyone knows that asbestos exposure primarily affects the lungs, leading to lung cancer or pleural mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive cancer in the lining of the lungs.

Finger clubbing, where the fingertips appear rounder and broader than usual, is the second sign. Thirdly, patients may experience continual and extreme fatigue. It could be that tumors are robbing the patient of energy.

Wheezing, especially when taking a deep breath, may signify an asbestos-related condition and should raise concerns, especially if one is not a smoker. It means that the lungs are inflamed. Lastly, patients may suffer from a persistent dry cough as a result of the build-up of scar tissue in the lungs. This can last for decades after their initial exposure to asbestos.

As for those who have been exposed to asbestos and are now dealing with cancer, they may be eligible for compensatory damages. Asbestos claims can be filed, for example, against one’s employer or against the manufacturers of asbestos-containing products. It can be hard to show the progress of their disease and link it to their exposure to asbestos, especially if it happened decades earlier, so victims may want a lawyer and their team of medical experts and other third parties to help.