If you have recently been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you probably have a lot of questions and fears about your condition, including how you acquired it and what the treatment and prognosis for your disease will be.
For some people who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, taking legal action against the party responsible for the exposure to asbestos — the only proven cause of mesothelioma — makes sense.
If you are suffering from mesothelioma but are unsure of its origin, the following guide — and our experienced mesothelioma attorneys — may be able to help.
THE ASBESTOS AND MESOTHELIOMA CONNECTION
The only known cause of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Asbestos may also cause lung cancer.
Asbestos is a collection of minerals that naturally occur in the environment. Because the nature of these minerals makes them resistant to heat, fire and many chemicals, the minerals were once popular in building materials. In fact, the NCI reports that asbestos was used in buildings as far back as the late 1800s.
However, asbestos was banned by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in the late 1970s. The building materials that may contain asbestos are discussed in more detail below.
PRODUCTS THAT CONTAIN ASBESTOS
Asbestos was most commonly used in the construction and building industries. However, it is occasionally found in other industries as well.
It was used primarily for the purposes of fireproofing, insulation, roof and sound absorption. Specifically, products that have been found in the past to contain asbestos are (according to the CPSC):
- Side shingles
- Insulation in homes built between 1930 and 1950
- Textured paint
- Furnace ducts
- Sound proofing materials on walls and ceilings
- Wall and ceiling patching compounds
- Ashes and embers manufactured for gas fireplaces
- Stove top pads
- The floors and walls surrounding wood burning stoves
- Vinyl floor tiles
- Hot water and steam pipes
- Oil furnaces
- Coal furnaces and gaskets
- Brakes pads, clutch facings and gaskets in cars.
If you live in an older home or have worked in an industry where exposure to the above materials was common, then you may have been exposed to asbestos. This is especially true if any of the above materials were disturbed, causing the asbestos to enter the air. Inhaling asbestos is particularly dangerous.
COMMON WORK ASBESTOS ENVIRONMENTS
As mentioned above, those workers who have worked in the construction or building industry may have been exposed to asbestos – particularly if building new homes or buildings prior to the year 1970.
However, construction workers who performed home or building remodels or demolition on older homes after 1970 may also have been exposed to asbestos.
Other workers who may have been exposed to asbestos include those who were employed in the manufacture or distribution of asbestos-containing products such as insulation, textiles and building materials and workers who were employed in automotive brake and clutch repair work, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
OTHER POSSIBLE CAUSES OF MESOTHELIOMA
The American Cancer Society reports that other possible risk factors for mesothelioma include:
- Zeolites – Zeolites are minerals that are chemically related to asbestos. They are found in the rocks and soil of certain geographic areas – specifically in the country of Turkey.
- Radiation – Evidence indicates that those persons who are exposed to high amounts of radiation are at a higher risk of developing mesothelioma, the ACS states. For example, patients who have been treated with radiation therapy may be at a higher risk.
- SV40 Virus – Evidence also suggests that those who have contracted the SV40 virus (simian virus 40) may also be at a higher risk of developing mesothelioma. However, this belief has been illustrated only in laboratory studies involving hamsters.
A person may also be more at risk for developing mesothelioma if he or she is of an older age. Two thirds of persons who develop mesothelioma are older than the age of 65.
Mesothelioma is much more common in men than it is in women, although this is believed to be mostly due to the fact that men more commonly are employed in industries where exposure to asbestos is common.
HOW DO I PROVE THAT MY MESOTHELIOMA WAS CAUSED BY ASBESTOS EXPOSURE?
If you believe that your mesothelioma was caused by exposure to asbestos, you may have a claim against the responsible party – be it your employer or the manufacturer of an unsafe and asbestos-containing product.
To prove that your mesothelioma was caused by asbestos exposure at work or elsewhere, a thorough investigation is necessary. You need a legal team on your side that has the resources to conduct an exhaustive and in-depth investigation that demonstrates how your mesothelioma would not have incurred but for your exposure to asbestos in a particular location.
If you are not sure if you were exposed to asbestos, a mesothelioma and asbestos attorney can help you to find out.
REACH OUT TO AN EXPERIENCED MESOTHELIOMA AND ASBESTOS ATTORNEY TODAY
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, our experienced Louisiana mesothelioma and asbestos attorneys at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault, Attorneys at Law, are ready to work with you to help you to explore your recovery options. We are ready to get to work. Please call 318.541.8188 at your earliest convenience or fill out our contact form online for a quick reply.