Weitz & Luxenberg provides information on asbestos
Weitzlux.com is your source for information pertaining to asbestos and its health hazards. We are dedicated to providing the general public with accurate information regarding asbestos, the ailments that can result from asbestos exposure, and what can be done legally if you or a loved one have developed mesothelioma, asbestos lung cancer or asbestosis due to asbestos exposure.
Should you require additional information about asbestos, or if you have any comments or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact Weitz & Luxenberg.
Asbestos Exposure Results in Senseless Tragedies
“We handled asbestos daily at work. We used it to wrap pipes and insulate boilers, and when it showered down on us like snow, we laughed and thought nothing of it. As the years passed, we found it more and more difficult to breathe. Our doctors diagnosed us with mesothelioma, asbestos lung cancer and asbestosis-all deadly diseases linked to asbestos exposure.”
We felt betrayed by our former employer, who failed to caution us about the dangers of asbestos and did not supply us with masks and protective suits. We were robbed of an enjoyableretirement and, worse yet, we unintentionally sickened our loved ones who developed mesothelioma, asbestos lung cancer and asbestosis due to second hand asbestos exposure.”
The U.S. Government Addresses the Asbestos Problem
The asbestos crisis has not even peaked. Congress tried to reconcile the scope of the crisis. Congress attempted to set aside enough money to compensate the sick. Congressional committees determined it would take nearly 150 times as much money as was set aside for the first responders of 9/11, over seven times as much money as the BP spill that destroyed the economies of five states, and then they determined that even that money might not be enough.
Collectively, we owe a debt of gratitude to these builders of America, and these companies that made them sick, these companies owe their former employees just compensation for misleading them, for causing them and their families to endure real and lasting hardship.
Organizations such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration have urged Congress for years to pass legislation on behalf of those suffering from illnesses brought on by asbestos exposure. It was not until May 2008 that a legislative bill, known as H.R. 3339, “issued a proposal to ban the use of all asbestos and increase federal funding for research of treatments to fight against asbestos related illnesses or conditions.” H.R.3339 “was intended to add amendments to the Toxic Substance Control Act”, which was passed in 1976.
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
- In the late 1970s, the CPSC banned the use of asbestos in “wallboard patching compounds and gas fireplaces, because the asbestos fibers in these products could be released into the environment when used (American Cancer Society).”
- In 2000, the CPSC “concluded that the risk of childrens exposure to asbestos fibers in crayons was extremely low. However, crayon manufacturers agreed to eliminate talc from their products (American Cancer Society).”
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- “In 1989, the EPA banned all new uses of asbestos; however, uses developed before 1989 are still allowed (American Cancer Society).”
- In August 2000, the EPA conducted a series of tests pertaining to asbestos contaminated vermiculite, a natural mineral that expands when heat is applied. The results of these tests showed that the risk of becoming sick due to asbestos contaminated vermiculite was minimal, but the EPA urged the public to exercise caution when using it.
Asbestos: Valued in Construction, Disastrous for Your Health
Asbestos is used in a number of different industries, and is valued in construction because of its flexibility, durability and resistance to fire. Desirable physical properties aside, asbestos exposure is linked at least three debilitating illnesses: Mesothelioma, Asbestos lung cancer and Asbestosis. All of these are caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibers, which have longevity periods of decades or more. These fibers, which cannot be seen by the naked eye, are lodged in the body tissues, and cannot be expelled.
A Brief History of Asbestos
- The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines asbestos as “a commercial name given to a group of minerals that possess high tensile strength, flexibility, resistance to chemical and thermal degradation, and electrical resistance.”
- In the United States, asbestos first became popular during the Industrial Revolution in the late 1800s. “It was used as insulation for steam pipes, turbines, boilers, kilns, ovens and other high temperature products.”
The Asbestos Diseases
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, asbestos inhalation is linked to the following illnesses, which are arranged here in order of severity:
“I feel pain. This disease, this mesothelioma, it eats you alive. With most other types of cancer, at least you have a chance to survive through early detection. Not so with Mesothelioma. It sneaks up on you years after exposure to asbestos and can kill you in a year or less. How will my family manage when I have died?”
Mesothelioma is a rare, but dangerously aggressive form of cancer. Mesothelioma affects the mesothelium, the lining of the internal organs. The key to effective cancer treatment is early diagnosis, but what makes mesothelioma so formidable is that it is almost impossible to diagnose in its infancy. The survival rate of those afflicted by mesothelioma is less than a year following diagnosis.
Asbestos Lung Cancer
Asbestos Lung cancer is responsible for the majority of asbestos related deaths. Its most common symptoms are “coughing, shortness of breath, persistent chest pains, hoarseness and anemia.” (EPA)
Although smoking tobacco increases the likelihood of developing lung cancer, smoking is not the only requisite. Owing to the high levels of asbestos in their materials and work environments, construction workers are particularly susceptible to lung cancer due to the inhalation of asbestos fibers.
Asbestosis, also known as pulmonary fibrosis, “is a serious, progressive, long term disease of the lungs (EPA).” When asbestos fibers are inhaled, especially for extended periods, fibrosis (the scarring of tissue) occurs. When lung tissue is scarred, it prevents the lungs from expanding as they should, which greatly compromises breathing ability. Some symptoms of asbestosis include “shortness of breath and a dry, cackling sound in the lungs while inhaling (EPA).”