Once regarded as a marvel of modern technology, asbestos is a versatile material with a remarkable tensile strength as well as exceptional resistance to heat, open flames, electrical discharges and chemical damage. At the time of its first widespread use, it seemed a wonder. Unfortunately, it would soon prove to be a bane to those who had to endure its effects.
Commercial Applications of Asbestos
Technically, asbestos is a silicate mineral that naturally occurs in one of six forms that are prized for their unique and commercially exploitable physical properties. Commercial mining began for the first time in the late 19th century and asbestos was, almost immediately, used as an insulating and fire retardant material in buildings as diverse as schools, hospitals and office buildings.
By the mid-20th century, asbestos use was ubiquitous. It was included in everything from concrete, bricks and pipes to pipe and ceiling insulation. In addition, most basic building materials including drywall, flooring, roofing and even drywall joint compound were fireproofed or insulated with asbestos fibers. Unfortunately, the ramifications of its use did not become evident for several decades.
Health Risks Linked to Asbestos
Current medical science is settled on the subject: exposure to asbestos poses a significant health hazard. Anyone who has experienced prolonged exposure to this toxic substance should seek immediate medical counsel.
In fact, the inhalation of asbestos fibers is recognized by the entire world medical community as a leading cause of several serious malignant conditions. The problem is so serious that the European Union has outlawed its extraction, processing, manufacture and use throughout its jurisdiction.
Asbestos can directly or indirectly cause such serious illnesses as malignant lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma. Significant detrimental effects are not confined to those intimately associated with its mining and processing. The simple, prolonged exposure in any setting is cause for concern.
Incidentally, a thousand tons or more of asbestos were released into the air during the destruction of the World Trade Center on that fateful night in New York City. That release of asbestos is believed to be responsible for the deaths of hundreds of first responders. This fact is a reminder of the severity and lethality of even short exposures to asbestos.
What Are the Legal Options
Foremost, remember that you are not alone. Asbestos litigation is now the longest running, most expensive mass tort in United States legal history. It encompasses over one million claimants and almost ten thousand defendants. It is truly monumental and the sums to be paid are in the hundreds of billions.
We understand that asbestos induced injuries and illnesses are traumatic enough without the added aggravation of dealing with litigation. Nevertheless, your rights deserve to be protected. If you feel that you or a loved one has been a victim of asbestos toxicity, please call us. Whether you use our services or not, our experienced staff is ready to knowledgeably advise and guide you on the least intrusive, most effective way to reconcile your claim.