It is widely known that asbestos exposure is dangerous and can lead to serious illness, including mesothelioma, a rare and deadly cancer affecting the lining of the lungs, heart, abdomen and chest cavity. Since the 1970s, when the Environmental Protection Agency banned most asbestos-related products, use of the mineral in the United States has significantly decreased. Although still used after the EPA ban, people who were alive before then understandably carry a greater risk of asbestos-related disease, but rates of mesothelioma fatalities among younger people have researchers concerned.
The term asbestos is used to describe a family of six minerals. These minerals occur naturally and can be mined for a variety of uses, including insulation, auto brakes, construction materials and other commercial products. They are versatile, flame retardant, and inexpensive, which made them a very popular material in the early 20th century. They are also known to cause a number of deadly diseases, such as mesothelioma.
Handling asbestos can cause tiny particles to dislodge and become airborne, where they can be inhaled or ingested. The particles become embedded in the lungs and cause serious respiratory conditions to develop. The National Cancer Institute has also reported links between asbestos and other cancers, including cancers of the gastrointestinal or colorectal tract, kidney, throat, esophagus, or gallbladder.
Most Mesothelioma Patients are Older
Mesothelioma has a long latency period, and can lay dormant in the body for 20 to 70 years after the initial asbestos exposure. Thus, it is not surprising that the majority of deaths caused by mesothelioma are in patients 75 or older, as they were more likely to be exposed to asbestos in their youth before the ban. Between 1999 and 2015 there were 16,914 mesothelioma-related fatalities among patients age 75 to 84, compared to 682 among patients age 25 to 44.
These numbers do not reassure doctors, however, who fear that many young people may face a mesothelioma diagnosis later in life. Even though the substance has been banned, it is still found in many places. Exposure in the workplace is one of the most common risks, and young people may not know that they are being exposed to a dangerous toxin. The U.S. Department of Labor has strict safety regulations for industries that carry a higher risk of asbestos exposure, including extensive training and the use of protective gear.
No Safe Level of Asbestos Exposure
The disease can be difficult to predict, as exposure levels can vary over time. Exposure to small amounts of asbestos over a long period of time is just as dangerous as exposure to a large amount in a short period. While early detection can make a difference, however, it does not guarantee survival. Mesothelioma is difficult to treat, as it is resistant to many common treatment methods.
Philadelphia Mesothelioma Lawyers at Shein Law Advocate for Asbestos Exposure Victims
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, call Shein Law. Our knowledgeable, experienced Philadelphia mesothelioma lawyers will thoroughly review the facts of your case to determine who is at fault for your asbestos exposure and win you the compensation you deserve. With offices conveniently located in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we help asbestos exposure victims throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Call us today at 1-877-SHEINLAW (743-4652) or contact us online to speak to a dedicated asbestos lawyer.