Asbestos Exposure & Mesothelioma Risk
Asbestos is a naturally occurring group of minerals that contain strong, flexible and easily separated fibers. A poor conductor of heat and electricity, asbestos is a multipurpose material used in a number of building, manufacturing and commercial applications.
Unfortunately, the qualities that make asbestos a highly desirable material also make it deadly. Once disturbed, asbestos fibers turn into microscopic airborne dust particles. Lingering in the air for hours or days, these fibers can attach to clothing or work instruments. If these fibers are inhaled, they can cause serious health problems.
Asbestos exposure has been known to cause a number of cancers, the most notable being mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that normally attacks the lungs and abdomen.
Asbestos Exposure and Mesothelioma Lawsuits
Asbestos Exposure Information
Use the information below to learn more about the dangers and sources of asbestos exposure.
- Asbestos Companies
- Asbestos Occupations
- Asbestos Products
- Asbestos Exposure by State
- Asbestos Exposure & Unions
- Asbestos Exposure & Veterans
- Understanding Mesothelioma and Asbestos Exposure
Every mesothelioma lawyer at Simmons Hanly Conroy is committed to helping mesothelioma victims and their families. If you or a loved one has recently been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, and you have more questions about the information above, please contact one of our mesothelioma lawyers today.
Asbestos Exposure History
Although asbestos history dates back to ancient Greece, the mineral became most popular in the United States during the 20th century industrial revolution. Known as the “miracle fiber” for its tensile strength, electrical resistance and fireproof properties, asbestos was most commonly used in factories, oil refineries, railroad yards and shipyards. Numerous products were also made with asbestos, including:
- Fire retardant coatings
- Pipe insulation
- Fireproof drywall
- Joint compound
Over time, asbestos found its way into over 3,000 household and industrial products, particularly in the automobile and construction industries.
By the middle of the 20th century, it was clear that asbestos was dangerous. Articles and reports were making connections between workplace asbestos exposure and diseases such as lung cancer and asbestosis. Despite the new found awareness of the dangers of asbestos exposure, many companies continued to allow its use and failed to provide their workers with warnings.
Asbestos use finally began to decline in the early 1970s, when major asbestos lawsuits became more commonplace. Because asbestos exposure was so widespread, generations of workers were experiencing negative asbestos health effects and were seeking compensation for their injuries. The mountain of litigation drove many U.S. companies to seek refuge in bankruptcy and others to cease asbestos use in order to avoid lawsuits against themselves.
While some countries have completely banned asbestos, and other countries, like the U.S., have placed heavy regulations on its use, asbestos is still present and continues to be used.
The prevalence of asbestos use during the 20th century now poses serious health risks for more than one million U.S. workers. View a list of occupations most at risk for asbestos exposure.
Want to learn more about the history of asbestos use and mesothelioma? View our mesothelioma litigation timeline.