Asbestos Diseases

Asbestos is classified as a cancer-causing substance. The toxic material formerly used in thousands of products is linked with deadly diseases, such as mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis.
Speak to an Attorney Now

How Asbestos Exposure Causes Diseases

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the World Health Organization are among the numerous health agencies that have classified asbestos as a human carcinogen or cancer-causing substance.

The toxic group of minerals once widely used in thousands of commercial products forms as microscopic fibers. When asbestos-containing materials deteriorate, are disturbed or manipulated, the fibers are released into the air.

Once inhaled, these fibers can get stuck deep in your lungs. The buildup of fibers remains in your lung tissue for a long time and may cause scarring and inflammation. This can lead to deadly diseases.

About Asbestos-Related Diseases

Unfortunately, the dangers of asbestos do not disappear once the exposure stops. Asbestos-related diseases develop slowly over time. The symptoms, such as pain, fatigue, and shortness of breath, may not arise until 10 to 50 or more years after a person’s first contact with asbestos. Even then, these diseases can be hard to detect because the signs often mirror those of less severe illnesses. By the time a doctor diagnoses an asbestos-related disease, it is often at a late stage of development.

For a free consultation and more information about your legal options, please contact us today.

Get a Free Case Review

To date, no treatments have reversed or cured the effects of asbestos, though some aim to help relieve symptoms. These treatments can be expensive, debilitating, and a burden on victims and their loved ones already coping with life-altering illness. In addition, asbestos-related diseases may cause fear, anxiety, depression, and stress.

Types of Asbestos-Related Diseases

Asbestos-related diseases can be cancerous or noncancerous. Even a benign asbestos illness, such as asbestosis, can be extremely serious, contributing to more than a thousand U.S. deaths each year.

Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is known as the signature asbestos-related cancer. It is also the most deadly asbestos-related disease.

An aggressive cancer, mesothelioma develops on the thin protective linings of the chest, abdomen, heart, or testicles. Doctors diagnose an estimated 3,000 new cases of mesothelioma in the U.S. each year, many of which can be traced to job-related asbestos exposure.

  • Pleural Mesothelioma (lungs)

  • Peritoneal Mesothelioma (abdomen)

  • Pericardial Mesothelioma (heart)

  • Testicular Mesothelioma

While each type of mesothelioma may yield different symptoms, patients — regardless of their specific diagnosis — may experience pain and unexplained weight loss.

Asbestos Lung Cancer

The U.S. Department of Labor has warned of a clear connection between asbestos exposure and lung cancer, which is the leading cause of cancer death in the U.S.

Of the more than 200,000 new lung cancer cases each year, as much as 15% are caused by occupational exposures to carcinogens, including asbestos.

The two primary forms of lung cancer are:

  • Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer — a less aggressive and more common form that accounts for at least 80% of all cases.
  • Small Cell Lung Cancer — an aggressive form that spreads quickly throughout the body. It makes up less than 20% of cases.

Symptoms of lung cancer may include shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, worsening or ongoing cough, and weight loss.

Asbestosis

Asbestosis is a chronic lung condition caused exclusively by inhaled asbestos fibers that become lodged in the lungs. Scar tissue forms inside the lungs, preventing them from expanding and contracting normally.

This makes breathing difficult. The disease is progressive and up to 15% of people with asbestosis eventually die of respiratory failure.

Symptoms include shortness of breath with activity, tightness in the chest, and coughing.

Asbestos Disease Deaths

The total number of asbestos-associated deaths in the U.S. is estimated to potentially exceed 200,000 by the year 2030. That figure is nearly quadruple the number of U.S. hourly factory workers employed by one of the largest union employers in the country.

Asbestos lung cancer has been said to claim an average of 4,800 American lives per year. About 2,848 people die yearly from mesothelioma in the U.S., and about 1,451 die from asbestosis annually, according to the most recent data available.

Occupations at Risk

Normally, the risk of asbestos-related diseases is said to be greatest for people who have worked with asbestos and were exposed to visible dust containing asbestos fibers for some time. However, investigators have found people with only brief exposures have developed asbestos-related diseases.

Those at risk for asbestos exposure in the workplace include miners, building construction workers, brake mechanics, electricians, shipyard workers, boiler operators, building engineers, and railroad workers. In addition, veterans may have encountered asbestos while serving in the U.S. military. Family members of people exposed to asbestos on the job also may be at risk of asbestos diseases from inhaling asbestos fibers brought home on workers’ clothing.

How Weitz & Luxenberg Can Help

If you were exposed to asbestos and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be eligible for compensation for your pain and suffering. Putting your trust in a reputable asbestos attorney can be a great benefit when seeking compensation for your asbestos-related injuries.

Weitz & Luxenberg has earned national acclaim for our pioneering work in asbestos litigation. For 30 years, we have provided caring and expert representation to those affected by asbestos-related diseases — both patients and their surviving loved ones.

Our attorneys are committed to helping each victim achieve the justice he or she deserves. We will stand behind you and help you through this scary and difficult time.

For a free legal consultation call (877) 516-9192 or fill out a form to speak with one of our dedicated asbestos attorneys.

  1. National Cancer Institute. (2009, May 1). Asbestos Exposure and Cancer Risk. Retrieved from https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/substances/asbestos/asbestos-fact-sheet
  2. World Health Organization. (n.d.). Asbestos. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/ipcs/assessment/public_health/asbestos/en/
  3. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. (2011, May 1). What Causes Asbestos-Related Lung Diseases? Retrieved from https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/asb/causes
  4. American Cancer Society. (2016, February 17). Signs and Symptoms of Mesothelioma. Retrieved from http://www.cancer.org/cancer/malignantmesothelioma/detailedguide/malignant-mesothelioma-signs-symptoms
  5. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. (2011, May 1). Living With Asbestos-Related Lung Diseases. Retrieved from https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/asb/livingwith
  6. American Cancer Society. (2016, February 17). What Are the Key Statistics About Malignant Mesothelioma? Retrieved from http://www.cancer.org/cancer/malignantmesothelioma/detailedguide/malignant-mesothelioma-key-statistics
  7. American Cancer Society. (2016, February 17). Signs and Symptoms of Mesothelioma. Retrieved from http://www.cancer.org/cancer/malignantmesothelioma/detailedguide/malignant-mesothelioma-signs-symptoms
  8. United States Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (1994, August 10). Occupational Exposure to Asbestos. Retrieved from https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=FEDERAL_REGISTER&p_id=13404
  9. American Lung Association. (2016, November 3). Lung Cancer Fact Sheet. Retrieved from http://www.lung.org/lung-health-and-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/lung-cancer/resource-library/lung-cancer-fact-sheet.html
  10. American Cancer Society. (2016, May 16). What Is Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer? Retrieved from https://www.cancer.org/cancer/non-small-cell-lung-cancer/about/what-is-non-small-cell-lung-cancer.html
  11. American Cancer Society. (2016, February 22). Signs and Symptoms of Lung Cancer. Retrieved from https://www.cancer.org/cancer/lung-cancer/prevention-and-early-detection/signs-and-symptoms.html
  12. MedlinePlus. (2017, February 7). Asbestosis. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000118.htm
  13. Cleveland Clinic. (n.d.). Asbestosis. Retrieved from http://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/asbestosis
  14. MedlinePlus. (2017, February 7). Asbestosis. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000118.htm
  15. Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry. (2016, August 9). Asbestos Toxicity What Respiratory Conditions Are Associated with Asbestos? Retrieved from https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/csem/csem.asp?csem=29&po=11
  16. EWG Action Fund. (n.d.). Section 1: The Asbestos Epidemic in America. Retrieved from http://www.ewg.org/asbestos/facts/fact1.php
  17. Lunder, S. (n.d.). Asbestos kills 12,000-15,000 people per year in the U.S. Retrieved from http://www.asbestosnation.org/facts/asbestos-kills-12000-15000-people-per-year-in-the-u-s/
  18. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. (2011, May 1). Who Is at Risk for Asbestos-Related Lung Diseases? Retrieved from https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/asb/atrisk
  19. National Cancer Institute. (2009, May 1). Asbestos Exposure and Cancer Risk. Retrieved from https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/substances/asbestos/asbestos-fact-sheet
  20. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. (2011, May 1). Who Is at Risk for Asbestos-Related Lung Diseases? Retrieved from https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/asb/atrisk

Get the Help You Need Today

Free Case Review