Today, the use of asbestos in products and industrial processes is heavily regulated. This is because scientists have discovered that this mineral does the body serious harm, especially the respiratory system.
However, it’s safe to say that the awareness and regulations came a little too late. Despite industries having known the negative effects of asbestos as early as the 1940s, the mineral was widely used well into the 1970s. Ironically, asbestos was even used to develop protective gear against fire and heat because of its insulating properties.
What makes asbestos exposure quite interesting is the fact that it takes several years or even decades for the resulting illnesses such as asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other forms of lung cancer to manifest themselves. To make matters worse, the symptoms resemble the symptoms of less serious respiratory illnesses, which further complicates or delays the diagnosis.
Once a proper diagnosis is made, the patient must be able to track the time and place of asbestos exposure. Due to the huge gap between exposure and symptom onset, the lawyers who assist patients must be those who have years of experience in asbestos laws and fighting for asbestos victims.
But how do people get exposed to this mineral to begin with?Occupational exposure
There was a time when industries were making widespread use of asbestos just like they are now using botox. They either used it to create their products or as a main component of protective gears. Clearly, this makes the workplace such a dangerous environment for workers.
When asbestos exposure happens in the workplace, the employer needs to be held accountable for it. The lawyer who represents that patient must be able to show that there were no safety precautions in place, and if there were, they weren’t enough to effectively protect the patient. This is going to be a very detail-oriented task that only the experienced and skilled lawyers can pull off.Military exposure
Aside from business, even the U.S.’s own military force used asbestos in building military ships and other vehicles. The military’s use had been so widespread that it was virtually impossible for anyone who lived in military camps not to be exposed.
Although those products have been phased out, there are still remnants of them. For this reason, there remains a considerably high incidence of mesothelioma, an asbestos-related lung cancer, among veterans.Secondary exposure
People who do not work in asbestos-infested places nor served in the military are still susceptible to exposure if they live with people who do.Fibrous asbestos easily gets transmitted around because they stick to clothes and hair. Once ruffled, they get thrown into the air and be inhaled by people. Like second-hand smoking, secondary exposure to asbestos is as dangerous or even more lethal than actual exposure.
Given that there is such a huge gap between asbestos exposure and actual onset of symptoms, we want to reiterate that proving the connection between the two might be too complex a task for anyone who is new to the field. Even those who have been around for some time but are not focused on asbestos-related cases can be easily led astray. If possible, patients should only work with attorneys or firms that specialize in cases like theirs. This way, we can be more sure that there is a thorough understanding not only of the law but also the technicalities of court proceedings.