Asbestos Related Cancer Risk: Amphibole Asbestos
Asbestos is the general term for a group of minerals characterized by long, thin fibers which are easily inhaled. Prized for their fire-retardant and insulating properties, asbestos-containing products were utilized by many industries throughout the 20th Century.
Asbestos exposure has been linked to a variety of cancers, including mesothelioma and lung cancer. Although certain types of asbestos may pose a more potent threat of cancer than others, all types of asbestos exposure are dangerous and no safe exposure level has been established.
Asbestos can be broadly categorized in two ways: as amphibole (straight, needle-like fibers) and serpentine – or chrysotile – (long, curly fibers) asbestos. Asbestos is most dangerous when it is friable, meaning that it crumbles easily into small airborne particles which can be inhaled and trapped in the lungs.
The long, needle-like fibers of amphibole asbestos are particularly well-suited to becoming trapped in this fashion. For many decades, amphibole asbestos was put to use as a key ingredient in insulation, asbestos cement products, and insulating board. Amphibole asbestos was also used in furnaces and industrial heating systems.
Amphibole asbestos exposure has been identified as an extremely potent source of lung and mesothelioma cancer risk, although the relative risk in comparison to chrysotile asbestos exposure is still a subject of academic debate. While chrysotile asbestos is still utilized in some industrial applications, amphibole asbestos use has been almost entirely discontinued.
Asbestos Cancer Risk: Chrysotile Asbestos
Although amphibole asbestos poses the most potent cancer risk, exposure to chrysotile asbestos is also strongly associated with the development of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. Studies of workers primarily or solely exposed to chrysotile asbestos have found significant risk of illness following both first-hand and secondary exposure.
In fact, because the majority of asbestos exposures leading to mesothelioma have involved chrysotile asbestos, chrysotile asbestos can be said to be the leading cause of mesothelioma. Asbestos-related cancer can take more than fifty years to develop following exposure. If you are experiencing symptoms, discuss your work and asbestos exposure history with your doctor.
Asbestos Cancer Victims: Help is Available
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be entitled to compensation. Although the dangers associated with all types of asbestos exposure were understood as early as the 1930s, for many decades employers and asbestos product manufacturers took few steps to protect their workers or the general public. The legal system has held these companies responsible for this toxic legacy.
Call an experienced asbestos litigation firm today, to discuss your options. As the only law firm in the Pacific NW exclusively devoted to asbestos litigation, Bergman Draper Oslund has obtained more than $700 million in settlements for mesothelioma victims like you. Call today for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.