Asbestos occurs naturally in mineral deposits all around the world, and humans have long used this natural substance as a fire retardant and form of insulation. There are mines that extract asbestos for use in different commercial applications and then send the raw asbestos to manufacturing facilities making items ranging from brake pads to water treatment chemicals.
Although the federal government has begun talking about a ban on asbestos imports, there are still thousands of American workers who have handled asbestos on the job and who will continue to work with asbestos in the immediate future. Some of these workers will develop asbestos-related illnesses because of their work.
Many people are familiar with the connection between asbestos and certain kinds of cancer. Both lung cancer and mesothelioma frequently develop in individuals who have worked with asbestos. Asbestosis is also a debilitating medical issue related to asbestos exposure, but fewer people understand this condition.
Asbestosis is a chronic and serious medical condition
When someone has inhaled asbestos frequently, their lungs may develop scar tissue. The symptoms of asbestosis often take years to show up after exposure and may gradually worsen after someone’s initial diagnosis.
Some of the symptoms of asbestosis are generic symptoms. These include persistent shortness of breath and a dry cough. Some people will also report a crackling sound in their lungs and tightness or pain in their chests. However, one of the most noticeable and unique symptoms is clubbing of the fingers or toes. Clubbing is the medical term for when the tips become rounder and wider than they usually would be.
Individuals with asbestosis will likely have long-term respiratory issues and are at increased risk of cancer.
You may have a right to seek compensation
Asbestosis, like most other asbestos-related medical conditions, is largely preventable with proper workplace safety measures. Too many businesses prioritize short-term profits and cost-cutting measures over the long-term health and safety of their employees.
Workers who develop asbestosis and other medical conditions because of their workplace exposure to asbestos may have the right to workers’ compensation or to file a civil lawsuit. Even if the company has gone out of business, it may have had to fund an asbestos compensation account prior to liquidating their remaining assets.
Understanding that you have the right to request conversation and help you cover the costs of your care after a diagnosis with asbestosis.