Smokers and Tobacco Users Exposed to Asbestos Are at an Increased Risk for Developing Mesothelioma
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Exposure to asbestos increases the risk of lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis. Smokers and tobacco users need to be especially careful.
This conclusion, from The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), is based on observations of these diseases in groups of workers with cumulative exposures ranging from about 5 to 1,200 fiber-year/mL. Such exposures would result from 40 years of occupational exposure to air concentrations of 0.125 to 30 fiber/mL.
Diseases from asbestos exposure take a long time to develop.
Most cases of lung cancer or asbestosis in asbestos workers occur 15 or more years after initial exposure to asbestos.
Tobacco smokers who have been exposed to asbestos have a "far greater-than-additive" risk for lung cancer than do nonsmokers who have been exposed, meaning the risk is greater than the individual risks from asbestos and smoking added together.
The time between diagnosis of mesothelioma and the time of initial occupational exposure to asbestos commonly has been 30 years or more.
Cases of mesotheliomas have been reported after household exposure of family members of asbestos workers and in individuals without occupational exposure who live close to asbestos mines.
Weitz & Luxenberg is a leading plaintiffs' law firm that has represented people affected by mesothelioma for over 20 years. Men and women diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer caused by asbestos exposure may be entitled to compensation from the companies responsible for their disease.
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