Many decades ago, asbestos was common in homes, offices, ships and other environments. Today, the dangers of asbestos are well-known, but older buildings in Pennsylvania and West Virginia may still contain asbestos. People who are unaware that asbestos exists in their home may not realize they are breathing in the material. Over time, asbestos exposure could cause illnesses, including mesothelioma cancer. Anyone worried about asbestos-related illnesses may find it worthwhile to learn about exposure risks.

Generally, people who experience long-term exposure to asbestos run the risk of developing a related disease. Often, the exposure is related to work or military service. However, someone could develop problems based on minimal exposure. Someone working around asbestos could bring home the substance on shoes and work clothes, thereby exposing family members or others in the home.

As for military veterans, they may serve in many different parts of the world. Sometimes, they could find themselves inside or near older buildings. Old structures overseas may contain asbestos, and service members could end up exposed to it. After the initial exposure, an illness may not develop until many years, possibly two to five decades. A person could have asbestos fibers in their lungs and never know it.

People who come in contact with asbestos, even small amounts or only for the short term, might take steps to track their health. Learning about the signs of asbestos-related illnesses could prove beneficial. Such knowledge may make it possible to seek medical attention at the first signs of illnesses. With that said, routine health checkups and screenings might be wise regardless of how someone feels.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has developed safety standards for companies to follow when workers are near asbestos. Unfortunately, not every employer follows the rules. Some might be negligent and lead to worker illness. An attorney familiar with the effects of asbestos may help someone seeking compensation for a disease. The attorney may review the case to see if any significant negligence contributed to health problems.