Though the use of asbestos, a fibrous heat-resistant substance, has been regulated due to its association with mesothelioma, many industries in Pennsylvania still use it. Mesothelioma is a rare cancer form caused by breathing in asbestos particles, and many factors could make someone more susceptible to it.
Basics of mesothelioma
Mesothelioma affects the mesothelium, or the lining of the heart, lung, or stomach. Some symptoms include weight loss, fatigue or anemia, decrease in appetite, chest tightness or pain, shortness of breath, neck and face swelling, and a chronic cough that gets worse. The coughing is often painful and contains blood in the fluid.
However, symptoms may not show for decades after exposure to asbestos; the period without indications is called the latency phase. The shortest latency phase is commonly five to 10 years, but most cases get diagnosed at 40 years after exposure. There is no safe level of exposure, but short-term exposure only causes issues from toxic dust clouds or intense levels of asbestos.
While smoking alone doesn’t increase the danger, research has found that asbestos and smoking combined increases the risk of certain lung cancers. A combination of asbestos fibers and smoking may leave scar tissue on the lungs and increase the risk of inflammation.
Radiation exposure may increase the risk for mesothelioma, such as during other treatments that use it. Mesothelioma has a 1% chance of getting passed through genetics because of genetic mutations.
Occupational exposure is the leading cause of mesothelioma with mining posing the highest risk for exposure. Workers in shipbuilding, railroad, construction, and automotive occupations are also at a high risk for exposure. People who live with the worker may get exposed to asbestos from shoes and clothing.
Employees may be able to get compensation from asbestos exposure, which includes trust funds, settlements, VA claims, and workers’ compensation. However, they should seek an attorney to discuss their particular circumstance to determine whether they have a case.