Table Of Contents
- What are the Diseases Associated With Exposure to Asbestos?
- Our Experience – Asbestos Litigation & Mesothelioma Lawsuits
- What is Asbestos?
- A Brief History of Asbestos
- What was Asbestos Used for?
- How Does Asbestos Exposure Occur?
- Which Professions are Affected by Asbestos Exposure?
- J&J Ordered to Pay $37 Million in Talcum Powder Mesothelioma Lawsuit
- Exposure at Reynolds Aluminum Plant
- Asbestos Exposure in Cigarette Smokers
- How Can I Protect Myself from Asbestos Related Diseases?
- Types of Mesothelioma Lawsuits
- Get a Free Asbestos Lawsuit / Mesothelioma Lawsuit Evaluation With Our Lawyers
What are the Diseases Associated With Exposure to Asbestos?
There are several different kinds of diseases that are related to exposure to asbestos fibers. They can be categorized in the following ways:
- Cancerous: Some diseases are malignant (or cancerous), such as mesothelioma and lung cancer.
- Non-Cancerous: Others are benign (non-malignant or non-cancerous), such as asbestosis, pleural plaques, diffuse pleural fibrosis, and benign pleural effusions.
Our Experience – Asbestos Litigation & Mesothelioma Lawsuits
Why You Should Choose Schmidt & Clark, LLP
“Our law firm has substantial expertise in the highly specialized field of occupational Asbestos litigation.”
There are many law firms in the United States that advertise their legal services for Asbestos lawsuits; however, most of these law firms do not actually litigate them.
You can contact our law firm with confidence in knowing that we have earned the nationwide respect and recognition from our peers for the successful representation of Asbestos wrongful death claims.
If you or a loved one developed mesothelioma, you should contact us immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a mesothelioma lawsuit / asbestos lawsuit and we can help.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is the name given to a number of naturally occurring minerals that have been used as ingredients in manufacturing products since the late 1800’s.
Asbestos deposits have been mined extensively in Canada, South Africa, Australia, Russia and the United States. Once the asbestos is mined and/or used in the manufacturing process, tiny fibers are created. The fibers cause disease when breathed into the lungs.
There are several different types of asbestos. The following is a list of the different types of asbestos:
Of these six, the three most commonly used are chrysotile (white), amosite (brown/off-white) and crocidolite (blue).
All types of asbestos tend to break into very tiny fibers. These individual fibers are so small that many must be identified using a microscope. Because asbestos fibers are so small, once released into the air, they may stay suspended there for days.
Asbestos fibers are also virtually indestructible. They are highly resistant to chemicals and heat. Asbestos fibers are durable, flexible, strong and resistant to wear. Because asbestos has so many useful properties, it has been used in over 3,000 different products.
Usually the asbestos fibers are mixed with other materials to form a product. The asbestos fibers often served as a binder to keep the other materials in the product intact. Depending on the product, the amount of asbestos in asbestos-containing materials varied from 1%-100% by weight.
Asbestos Lawsuit / Mesothelioma Lawsuit Cases:
A Brief History of Asbestos
Unlike many of its doomed chemical contemporaries, asbestos is not a product of modern technology. Its use predates history, and the recognition of health hazards associated with asbestos is recorded in writings from the first century.
Asbestos has been used for more than 2,000 years. It was named by the Ancient Greeks, its name meaning “inextinguishable.” The Greeks used asbestos for the wicks of the eternal flames of the vestal virgins, as the funeral dress for the cremation of kings, and as napkins.
Asbestos was used marginally through the 1700s, but did not become popular until the Industrial Revolution during the late 1800s. It then began to be used as insulation for steam pipes, turbines, boilers, kilns, ovens, and other high-temperature products. Ancient observations of the health risks of asbestos were either forgotten or ignored.
At the turn of the twentieth century, researchers began to notice a large number of deaths and lung problems in asbestos mining towns. In the 1930s, major medical journals began to publish articles that linked asbestos to cancer.
Despite the fact that many materials, such as fiberglass insulation, were created to replace asbestos, companies that used asbestos ignored the safer alternatives.
The conduct of the asbestos manufacturers is especially egregious, however, because the mesothelioma victims were largely exploited workers who were unaware of the serious health risks they were exposed to on a daily basis.
When the use of asbestos was at its highest – probably in the 1940s to the early 1970s – an estimated 3,000 products made use of its unique properties. You could find asbestos in hair dryers, irons and ironing board covers, toasters, coffee pots, and electric blankets.
Because asbestos is also found in vermiculite or talc, trace amounts could also be detected in cosmetics and powders, as well as in fertilizer and potting soils.
Use of asbestos stabilized after 1976 (the year of peak production), decreasing only in the late 1980s as its associated health risks became a matter of increasing public concern.
Although in the USA the last domestic mine closed in 2002, asbestos is still imported here (6000 metric tons in 2003), mostly from Canada. Asbestos (predominantly chrysotile) is still widely mined outside the USA, especially in Russia (39%), Canada (18%), China (14%), Brazil (9%), Kazakhstan (7%), and Zimbabwe (6%).
What was Asbestos Used for?
Asbestos is a natural mineral that was mined by itself or within other ores extensively up until its federal ban in 1980. Many everyday products contained asbestos because of its insulation qualities. However, its uses were not just limited to insulation itself and could be found in anything from clothing to roofing shingles.
The term “asbestos” refers to a number of naturally occurring mineral fibers. These fibers are strong, durable, poor conductors of electricity and are heat resistant. Because of these properties, they have been used since 1880 in more than 3500 products including:
- Friction products such as railroad and automotive brakes and clutches
- Fireproofing and acoustical texturing products
- Gaskets and packing products
- Textiles and clothing
- Vermiculite products
- Packing, taping and spackling products
- Building materials such as siding, roofing, wallboard and tiles
Many asbestos containing products have been pulled from the market, but not in time to prevent thousands of deaths from asbestos exposure. If you’re concerned that you may have been exposed, contact your physician right away. For more information on specific products, ask Schmidt & Clark, LLP.
How Does Asbestos Exposure Occur?
Exposure occurs when asbestos fibers are inhaled. If an asbestos-containing product is left intact, then exposure to the asbestos fiber is less likely. However, if that asbestos-containing product is cut, sawed, mixed, drilled, buffed, vibrated, sanded or otherwise disturbed, this causes asbestos fibers to be released into the air.
Because individual asbestos fibers are so tiny that they can only be seen with a microscope, they are very lightweight and stay in the air for a long time.
Friable asbestos is especially dangerous. The term friable means that the asbestos crumbles easily, releasing asbestos fibers into the breathable air. An example of friable asbestos is acoustical ceiling and wall spray.
Once inhaled, the asbestos fibers can cause many respiratory problems, including the development of mesothelioma. Asbestos fibers are very strong – too strong for the human body to break down.
Asbestos fibers can also be swallowed, lodging themselves in the digestive tract. This may also lead to disease.
Which Professions are Affected by Asbestos Exposure?
Though the government now heavily regulates worksites where asbestos is present, many asbestos companies fail to take the necessary steps to protect their employees from asbestos inhalation. Because of this, the threat of asbestos cancer remains a serious concern among many occupations.
Because low levels of asbestos are present in the air, water, and soil, everyone is exposed at some time during their life. In most asbestos cases, however, people do not develop illnesses requiring medical expenses from their exposure. Asbestos diseases, such as asbestosis or pleural plaques – or even the more fatal forms of asbestos cancer such as lung cancer or mesothelioma – usually occur in people who work directly with the material or who are exposed to it on a regular, prolonged, or substantial basis.
What follows are some of the occupations of individuals who are exposed to high levels of asbestos on a daily basis and may be able to file a mesothelioma class action lawsuit:
- Pipe Fitters
- Shipyard workers
- Power plant workers
- Demolition workers
- Railroad workers
- Steel mills workers
- Plumbers, maintenance workers
- Drywallers, plasterers, painters
- School teachers
In addition to people who worked with asbestos either directly or indirectly, workers’ families and other household contacts may also be able to file a mesothelioma lawsuit.
Before strict industrial hygiene rules were put in place, asbestos workers went home covered in asbestos dust; family and household members were then exposed via inhalation of the dust from workers’ skin, hair, and clothing, and during laundering of contaminated work clothes.
Studies have shown increased rates of asbestos-related illnesses and deaths in the household contacts of asbestos workers.
J&J Ordered to Pay $37 Million in Talcum Powder Mesothelioma Lawsuit
A New Jersey state jury has ruled against J&J and one of its talc suppliers, Imery Talc America, Inc., in a class action lawsuit filed by a man with mesothelioma, awarding him $37 million in compensatory damages after determining that his use of talcum powder caused the cancer.
Currently, there are approximately 3,000 new cases of Asbestos related diseases diagnosed with mesothelioma per year. According to the National Cancer Institute, the development of Asbestos cancer can occur 20 or sometimes even 40 years after the initial exposure to the dangerous Asbestos fibers.
Exposure at Reynolds Aluminum Plant
Workers at the Reynolds Aluminum plant were at daily risk of exposure to asbestos and other toxic substances like cyanide. This was especially true before the 1970s, when the dangers became better understood and workers began to wear adequate protection and receive warnings.
Reynolds Metals Company (RMC) was the second largest aluminum company in the United States, and the third largest in the world. The company became well-known for the consumer product Reynolds Wrap as well as being a leader in developing and promoting new uses for aluminum; its RV Aluminaut submarine was operated byReynolds Marine Services.
Headquartered for most of its existence in Richmond, Virginia, it was acquired by Alcoa in June 2000. It was acquired by Graeme Hart, New Zealand businessman in 2008 – named Reynolds Packaging Group, now a private company again.
Aluminum smelters, like the Reynolds Plant and many others that were located throughout the Pacific Northwest, made wide use of asbestos, recognized for decades for its ability to insulate and resist fire. Asbestos was used in the carbon bake furnaces, on the potlines, and in the casthouse as well.
Employees who worked with extremely hot materials were able to file a mesothelioma lawsuit. They wore asbestos gloves and aprons while pouring liquid aluminum alloys that measured up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit in order to keep their hands from blistering and to avoid asbestos-related injuries.
Others wore asbestos coats, and asbestos masks were used as well, meaning that workers wore the hazardous material on their faces, making it especially easy to inhale dangerous fibers.
Over the years, many Reynolds Aluminum Plant employees have been screened for asbestos-related illness and the numbers affected have been alarmingly high, according to several reports. Many of the sickened had toiled at the plant for decades, unaware that they were exposed to such a high level of dangerous asbestos fibers for such a long time.
Asbestos Exposure in Cigarette Smokers
It has long been established that smoking cigarettes greatly increases this risk of developing lung cancer. In fact, the vast majority of lung cancers attributed to asbestos exposure have occurred in smokers.
Many studies have shown that the combination of smoking and asbestos exposure is particularly hazardous. Smokers have a risk of developing lung cancer that is greater than the individual risks from asbestos and smoking added together.
There is evidence that quitting smoking will reduce the risk of lung cancer among asbestos-exposed workers.
If you work in an area where you are affected by asbestos particles, you should use all protective gear and equipment provided by your employers and follow recommended workplace practices and safety procedures.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) established regulations dealing with asbestos exposure on the job, specifically in construction work, shipyards and general industry that employers are required to follow at all times.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a component of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and is the Federal agency responsible for health and safety regulations in maritime, construction, manufacturing, and service workplaces.
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Types of Mesothelioma Lawsuits
If your family is bearing the burden of mesothelioma, an asbestos exposure lawsuit may be right for you and your loved ones.
You may be eligible to file a mesothelioma lawsuit if you were received a mesothelioma diagnosis, or a wrongful death lawsuit if you lost a loved one to the disease.
The steps for filing a mesothelioma lawsuit vary depending on the types of legal claims filed.
Personal Injury Lawsuit
A person diagnosed with mesothelioma is eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit against the companies responsible for exposing them to asbestos.
Asbestos liability is usually based on companies’ failure to warn employees and consumers about the dangers linked to inhaling the toxic mineral. When compensation is awarded in personal injury lawsuits, mesothelioma patients are the recipients.
Wrongful Death Lawsuit
The estate of a deceased mesothelioma patient is eligible to file a wrongful death claim, seeking compensation to cover medical bills, funeral expenses and lost income.
Similarly, if a mesothelioma patient files a personal injury lawsuit but passes away before it is resolved, the estate may continue the claim. When compensation is awarded in wrongful death lawsuits, the estate is the recipient.
Get a Free Asbestos Lawsuit / Mesothelioma Lawsuit Evaluation With Our Lawyers
The Toxic Tort Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus exclusively on the representation of plaintiffs in Asbestos lawsuits. We are handling individual and group asbestos litigation nationwide and currently accepting new mesothelioma lawsuits in all 50 states.
If you or a loved one have been exposed to Asbestos and developed a form of Asbestos related cancer or other related disease, you should contact us immediately. You may be entitled to mesothelioma compensation for medical expenses through the filing of an asbestos lawsuit / mesothelioma lawsuit and a mesothelioma lawyer can help.