Asbestos is a known human carcinogen. This means that it has been thoroughly studied and documented that this mineral causes cancer. Specifically, it is known to lead to asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma. In fact, exposure to asbestos is the only way a person can develop mesothelioma (a rare form of cancer that affects the mesothelial linings of the organs). If you have been subjected to prolonged asbestos exposure in the workplace, you should look into filing an asbestos lawsuit.
There are many different uses for asbestos. It is a natural mineral that was used extensively in construction because it is flame resistant and an excellent insulator. It is also very versatile and can be mixed into cement to form siding, roofing, and flooring materials. It can be shaped and formed to fit around pipes and other fittings. It can also be incorporated into protective clothing to avoid burns.
Asbestos Use Today
Since the mid 1970s the government has banned the use of asbestos in construction materials. Despite how well it works as an insulator, it is just too dangerous to be around. That does not mean, however, that all existing construction had to remove the asbestos already in place.
While many companies remodeled their factories and industrial areas to get rid of asbestos, some did not. And through the years homes have been remodeled to remove asbestos as well. However, there are still many buildings that are laden with asbestos.
The most common places to find asbestos in existing structures are the siding, ceiling, and insulation. Asbestos siding looks like cement shingles on the side of houses. The asbestos, as long as it is contained in the shingles, is actually not harmful. The cement holds the fibers in place, and most of the time the shingles are painted as well. It becomes dangerous when holes are drilled, or the shingles are broken and the fibery dust is released.
Many homes have popcorn ceilings. This coating did two things. It broke up the texture of the ceiling, so flaws and blemishes were hidden. And it helped insulate. However, the sparkles that are in many popcorn ceilings are actually pieces of vermiculite, a natural substance that contains high amounts of asbestos.
Insulation once used a lot of asbestos. It was easy to use, flame resistant, and provided a great R value. Today there are a number of safer alternatives that actually work better. But if you open the walls or ceiling of an older home, you will likely encounter asbestos laden insulation.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
If you have had prolonged exposure to asbestos at the workplace, and you have been diagnosed with asbestosis, mesothelioma, or lung cancer, you may be able to take part in an asbestos lawsuit. Contact a personal injury attorney for your free consultation.