Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that consists of long, thin fibers. When these fibers are disturbed, they can enter the lungs and cause inflammation. Asbestos exposure has been linked to the development of mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer, and other respiratory diseases. Statistics indicate that over 125 million people worldwide are exposed to asbestos at the workplace.
The US Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) provides information about the health risks associated with exposure to this material. These laws are intended to regulate asbestos exposure and help victims seek compensation for their suffering. They also aim to protect people from the harmful effects of asbestos exposure.
Asbestos Related Diseases
Asbestosis is an aggressive disease that occurs from breathing in asbestos fibers. This breathing disorder has killed over 9,000 people in the United States from 1968 to 2005. The first symptoms appear 10 to 50 years after the initial exposure to asbestos. Due to its long latency period, asbestosis is difficult to diagnose and treat.
Asbestos exposure may also cause mesothelioma, a deadly form of cancer that affects the lining of the heart, chest, and abdomen. More than 3,000 Americans are diagnosed with mesothelioma every year. The disease manifests itself 30 to 50 years after exposure to asbestos, which lowers the survival rate.
Asbestos Laws for the Workplace
Millions of people have been exposed to asbestos since the early 1940s. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the Federal agency responsible for health and safety regulations in construction, manufacturing, maritime, and service workplaces.
Employee exposure to asbestos must not exceed 0.1 asbestos fibers per cubic centimeter during an eight-hour work period. Employers are required to conduct daily monitoring for workers and provide adequate access to hygiene, protective clothing, and proper gear.
Compensation and Support for Asbestos Victims
Individuals suffering from asbestos related conditions may be eligible for compensation. A lawsuit can help reduce financial hardships during an illness and bring to justice companies that exposed workers to asbestos products. Compensation may include medical expenses, pain and suffering, loss of income, and reduced lifespan. The family members of an individual who has died from asbestos related diseases may seek to recover damages on behalf of their deceased loved one.
Health Risks of Asbestos
Breathing in asbestos fibers can cause pleural effusion, cancer of the larynx, gastrointestinal and colorectal cancers, and pleural plaques. Smokers who have been exposed to asbestos face an increased risk of developing mesothelioma due to the synergistic effect between the two substances.
Asbestos can be found in ceiling tiles, adhesives, cement pipes, roofing shingles, and heating ducts. More than 5,000 products currently in use contain this material. Individuals who have been exposed to asbestos may experience severe chest pain, weight loss, nausea and vomiting, shortness of breath, weakness, and accumulation of fluid in the lungs. Early diagnosis is the key to survival. Those who have been exposed to asbestos at work or at home may wish to consult their doctor as soon as possible.