Mesothelioma & Asbestos Exposure
Mesothelioma is a deadly, horrible disease. It's primarily caused by exposure to asbestos dust and fibers. And due to its long latency period (20–50 years), many people exposed as early as the 1970s are just now being diagnosed.
Mesothelioma has broken hundreds of thousands of families, and has been deemed by some to be one of the largest man-made epidemics in U.S. history.
Man. Made. Epidemic.
Sadly, this global scourge that is projected to take 10 million lives by 2075 could have been prevented. The history of how and why this disease reached epidemic proportions is shocking and shameful.
Because of asbestos' fire retardant nature, resiliency, and versatility, during the industrial age it was widely used in hundreds of products: cements, glues, insulation, pipes and gaskets, brakes, ceiling and floor tiles, paints, drywall and joint compound, vinyl, plastics, paper, even cigarette filters, blankets, and certain clothing.
During World Wars I and II, and even as late as the Korean War, manufacturing of asbestos-containing products proliferated – particularly in naval shipbuilding and repair. As a result, more and more workers exposed to asbestos were diagnosed with lung disease and cancer.
Some industry titans became concerned. Their concern was not for the health of their workers, but instead the health of their bottom line. So by the early 1900's, they commissioned their insurance company, MetLife, to conduct a study about the connection between asbestos and lung cancer. The research confirmed the ugly, profit-killing truth. There was indeed a direct connection. But instead of warning their workers and taking precautions to limit exposure, they made a pact to keep quiet about the research and made sure others kept quiet too, including MetLife. These industrial conspirators even went a step further and altered the study's evidence, and subsequently locked the thousands of pages away.
Over the decades, the companies quietly paid off workers who fell ill or died from exposure, so as not to draw attention to the connection.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact us immediately or call 1-866-900-7078 to speak with a North Carolina lawyer who may be able to help determine if you have a mesothelioma claim.
Those documents, known as the Sumner Simpson Papers (Sumner Simpson was the CEO of one of the asbestos manufacturing companies), remained hidden until 1977. They, alone, became the smoking gun that blew the cover off the industry's decades-long secret. And that's when angry victims and family members who lost loved ones began taking action.
What Causes Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma comes from exposure to asbestos – small, light, odorless, and colorless fibers and dust that can stay in the air a long time and can be unknowingly inhaled or ingested.
Those unsightly popcorn ceilings from your 1973 mid-century split level reno? You might want to have them professionally tested before scraping. Although asbestos was outlawed in the U.S. in 1978, it was widespread practice to use asbestos in many materials throughout 1980s.
If building materials containing asbestos are damaged or disturbed, such as during renovations, asbestos fibers are released into the air and can be inhaled or ingested, and can potentially lead to mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma Can Take 20 to 50 Years to Develop
Because there's roughly a 20- to 50-year latency period between asbestos exposure and the formation of mesothelioma, those exposed in the 1970s are just now starting to be diagnosed.
People Most at Risk for Mesothelioma
Many people who develop this cancer have worked in jobs where they were exposed to this toxic substance – all branches of the military, in particular. Those who worked in asbestos mines and certain vermiculite mines, industrial workers, construction workers, and shipyard workers have reported very high rates of mesothelioma. Even families of these workers who may have been exposed to fibers from workers' clothing could be at risk.
Mesothelioma Signs and Symptoms
An estimated 3,000 people annually are diagnosed with mesothelioma in the U.S., according to the Mesothelioma Center's website Asbestos.com. The signs and symptoms will vary by person and according to where in the body the cancer originated. However, some common signs and symptoms of mesothelioma include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Painful or persistent coughing
- Abdominal pain or swelling
- Difficulty swallowing
- Unexplained weight loss
If you experience any of these symptoms, meet with your doctor immediately to be evaluated. While there is no known cure, early treatment may improve your odds for recovery.
Mesothelioma Called "The #1 Occupational Killer in the World"
Marty Kanarek, an environmental epidemiologist and professor of population health sciences and environmental studies at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, suggests asbestos is the No. 1 occupational killer in the world and referred to it as "the most frightening thing in environmental epidemiology."
In his professional opinion, "This epidemic of mesothelioma is going to go on and on, unfortunately," he said. "After all is said and done, by 2075, the estimates are that 10 million people in the world will have died because of asbestos."
North Carolina Lawyers Evaluating Mesothelioma Claims
We are currently investigating claims from those who have been diagnosed with this disease.
More than $30 billion has been set aside for victims of mesothelioma. And 3.3 million trust cases equaling at least $17.5 billion were paid from 1998 through 2010.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact us immediately or call us at 1-866-900-7078 to have your case evaluated by a North Carolina lawyer who may be able to help you determine if you have a mesothelioma claim.
You may be eligible for compensation for medical expenses, physical and mental distress, lost wages and other expenses and bills related to your disease.