Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Linking diagnosis to exposure: The first step toward justice

You may not be aware of it, but chances are you have been exposed to asbestos at some point in your life. In fact, low levels of asbestos are present just about everywhere - in the air, water and soil.

Fortunately, these low levels of asbestos exposure usually don't cause illness. Unfortunately, some people are at risk for much higher levels of asbestos exposure and may develop significant health problems because of it. Identifying the connection between these health problems and previous exposure to asbestos is perhaps the first and most important step in seeking justice and compensation for individuals and families who have suffered because of asbestos-related diseases.

Asbestos-related diseases after high levels of exposure

According to the National Cancer Institute, people who become ill from high levels of asbestos exposure are usually those who are exposed to it on a regular basis, most often in a job where they work directly with the material or encounter substantial levels of the fibers through environmental contact. Asbestos-related diseases, such as asbestosis, nonmalignant lung disorders, lung cancer, mesothelioma, and other cancers, have afflicted people across every imaginable industrial pursuit.

The National Cancer Institute lists asbestos removal workers, asbestos mining and milling workers, and manufacturers of asbestos textiles and other asbestos products among the many professions whose work has pre-disposed them to asbestos-related diseases. The list also includes workers in the construction and building trades, maintenance workers, welders, demolition workers, drywall removers, firefighters, automobile mechanics and workers in the shipbuilding trades, among others.

Asbestos-related diseases after brief exposure

While it is generally true that health risks from asbestos increase with direct and prolonged exposure, investigators at the National Cancer Institute have found asbestos-related diseases in individuals with only brief exposures. Additionally, there is evidence that family members of workers who have been heavily exposed to asbestos face an increased risk of developing asbestos diseases, particularly mesothelioma.

The connection between your health problems and previous asbestos exposure is not always obvious or apparent. This is due to the fact that those who develop asbestos-related diseases usually show no signs of illness for a long time after their first exposure. It may take anywhere from 10 to 40 years or more for symptoms to appear.

Because of this long interval between the time of exposure and the time of diagnosis, many patients suffering from the long-term effects of asbestos do not realize that they may be able to obtain compensation for work-related asbestos exposure. Identifying this connection is a crucial component in allowing individuals and families to hold the appropriate parties accountable and seek compensation for the negligence that resulted in their exposure to asbestos, and ultimately, the suffering they have experienced.

Source: National Cancer Institute at the National Institute of Health, Asbestos Exposure and Cancer Risk.

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Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.
20 Stanwix Street, Seventh Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

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