When people in Washington and other states across the nation suffer an ailment or health issue, they may not know what caused it. Unfortunately, some work environments are the cause of serious health conditions, including some cancers. A diagnosis of mesothelioma is likely associated with exposure to asbestos in the workplace.
What is mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that impacts the mesothelial cells, which make up the mesothelium. This is a protective membrane that covers the lungs, abdomen and heart. When the mesothelium is impacted by asbestos exposure, it can begin to produce cancerous cells that quickly spread across these vital organs.
Based on current research, 80% of mesothelioma cases can be traced back to known asbestos exposure. As such, asbestos exposure is the primary cause of this form of cancer. Furthermore, most of those diagnosed with mesothelioma experienced asbestos exposure due to their line of work. In other words, their job required them to handle asbestos-containing products, resulting in continued exposure for years.
When asbestos is inhaled, it can be trapped in the mesothelial tissues. This results in inflammation and damage to the cells. Over time, and with continued exposure to asbestos, the cells mutate, become malignant and turn into mesothelioma tumors. On average, it can take 20 years or more for asbestos fibers to cause healthy mesothelial cells to become cancerous.
High risks for asbestos exposure
Shipyard workers, construction workers, power plant workers, chemical plant workers, industrial workers, insulators, boiler workers, firefighters and military servicemembers are at a higher risk of asbestos exposure that could lead to mesothelioma. Additionally, secondhand exposure to asbestos may occur if someone in the household works around asbestos and unknowingly brings asbestos fibers on their clothing into the home environment.
If you or a loved one is suffering from mesothelioma, it is important to understand the cause and treatment options. Additionally, it is imperative to gain knowledge about the legal options available. It may be possible to hold another party accountable for the asbestos exposure that resulted in mesothelioma, and recover compensation for the harms suffered. In addition to filing a lawsuit, tens of billions of dollars have been set aside in bankruptcy trusts to compensate asbestos victims and, for some, claims can be pursued through the state workers’ compensation or Veterans’ Affairs claims process.