Unusual Exposures: Short Exposure to Asbestos Equals High Risk
"Many people remain under the misimpression that there is a 'safe' level of exposure to asbestos, when our experts have shown again and again that the worst diseases—the cancers and especially mesothelioma—are commonly the result of extremely low levels of exposure.
“For example, in 2006, I represented two dentists who developed cancer over 20 years after they had in medical school worked on an exercise with dental tape containing asbestos. -- James C. Long, Jr., Weitz & Luxenberg asbestos trial attorney
I was only exposed to asbestos dust a few times. Can I become ill with an asbestos disease?
We have seen many cases where someone has been diagnosed with an asbestos disease from a very short exposure, including:
- A worker at an airplane manufacturing company who never worked with asbestos products or materials that contained asbestos. This man was diagnosed with an asbestos disease because he inhaled asbestos dusts in the air from other areas of the factory.
- A woman working at a large airport in the U.S. when the airport was performing asbestos abatement. Even though she was not working close to where the abatement was taking place, she was diagnosed with Mesothelioma approximately ten-fifteen years later.
- In the United Kingdom, there is an unusual case of a woman diagnosed with Mesothelioma after only one exposure to asbestos. As a small child, she was outdoors playing when a massive explosion and fire occurred at a military base near her home. When investigating the case, people reported that the asbestos on the roof of the building fell “like snow” over a 15 mile radius from the base. Now in her 30’s, this woman is one of the youngest people known to have been diagnosed with Mesothelioma.
If I have asbestos in my home, should I be worried if I’ve done any repair or remodeling jobs over the years?
Many homes built before the late 1960s were built using asbestos products. In homes built or remodeled in the 1960s-1980s, a spray-on ceiling coating (commonly known as a “popcorn” ceiling)was as a quick and inexpensive way of hiding flaws and cracks in the plaster in ceilings.
Very few home repair experts appropriately caution those undertaking this repair job about the dangers of asbestos in spray on ceilings or other places where asbestos is typically found in the home.
I’ve read there is asbestos in brakes and other car and truck parts. Am I at risk if I work as a mechanic or do my own brake repairs?
Asbestos is still used in brake and clutch components. Whether you are a professional or a home mechanic, you need to take special precautions to prevent exposure to asbestos when working on the brakes in any vehicle.
In April 2007, the Environmental Protection Agency released an informational brochure to warn mechanics of these dangers, as well as to caution on how to dispose of used parts that contain asbestos.
What if I grew up close to where companies made or mined asbestos?
People who live near natural sources of asbestos or live near mines where asbestos and other asbestos ores are present have a great risk of developing mesothelioma, lung cancer or asbestosis.
In Libby, Montana, a mineral called Vermiculite was mined from 1919-1990. The vermiculite contained a naturally occurring asbestos mixture. Many people who live and work in Libby have become seriously ill because of asbestos exposure.
Did you know that one of the largest sources of naturally occurring asbestos sources is in California? Office parks, shopping centers and residential communities have been built in the densely populated areas of the state. According to the United States Geology Service (USGS), if buildings were constructed in areas where the bedrock contained asbestos rock, there is a danger that asbestos fibers and dusts were released into the environment.
What Should I Do Next?
When you or a family member has been diagnosed with Mesothelioma or lung cancer, you depend on your medical team to provide the best care for your illness.
You also need a highly qualified and seasoned team of asbestos lawyers to fight for you.
Weitz & Luxenberg’s asbestos attorneys have assisted clients with unusual exposure cases. We are able to help these individuals in determining the places where they were exposed, the manufacturers of the products used where they were exposed, and pinpointing the defendants responsible for their asbestos-related illnesses.
Get a free case evaluation by filling out the brief questions below.