Asbestos is a silent danger because it is invisible to the naked eye, and there is no way to know it is in the air or in the lungs. It does not produce symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, or itchy skin and cannot be felt when inhaled into the lungs. Disturbing the asbestos creates no visible dust that can be a warning sign that asbestos is present.
Asbestos was a commonly used material in a wide range of industries, namely construction. Over time and if disturbed, asbestos breaks down into minuscule fibers that are virtually undetectable. These fibers linger in the air for days and can be inhaled into the lungs. Because the fibers are so small, they can move deep into the lungs and become embedded in the lung tissue.
Once the fibers are embedded in lung tissue, they can cause several serious medical conditions. The three most common diseases resulting from asbestos are
- Lung cancer
- Mesothelioma, a form of cancer that develops in the lining of the lung cavity, abdominal cavity or the sac that surrounds the heart
- Asbestosis, inflammation and scarring of tissue in the lung
It is important to take steps to prevent exposure to asbestos because it can take as long as 10 to 40 years for exposure to result in symptoms. When symptoms do occur, such as a gradual onset of shortness of breath and a persistent wheezing cough, they are often attributed to other health conditions. If exposure or possible exposure has occurred, obtaining legal counsel is recommended. Tate Law Group has extensive experience in asbestos-related illness lawsuits and has served on a number of steering committees involved with multi-jurisdictional litigation.