Thousands of people die each year in the United States from mesothelioma caused by inhaling asbestos fibers. Learn about three dangers of asbestos.
Asbestos exposure, unfortunately, is all too common in Louisiana. Workers regularly get exposed in shipyards, oil refineries, manufacturing plants, military bases, and other job sites throughout the state.
The attributes of asbestos, such as resistance to fire and chemicals, make it a good material for manufacturing and building industries. But asbestos has long been linked to cancer, respiratory disease, and other health problems, including death.
Asbestos Exposure in Louisiana
According to the Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Louisiana has more facilities that produce, process, or use asbestos than any other state in the country.
In 1971, Occupational Safety and Health Administration began regulating how much asbestos workers can be exposed to. The material contains tiny fibers that can cause lung disease or cancer if swallowed or inhaled.
The Environmental Protection Agency also regulates asbestos, establishing regulations for inspecting, demolishing and renovating buildings that contain materials made with asbestos, including insulation, vinyl tiles, roofing, shingles, and paint. However, there has never been a full ban on asbestos in the United States.
But, an analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that thousands of people are still dying each year in the United States from a type of cancer called mesothelioma caused by inhaling asbestos fibers. Even after decades of regulation limiting exposures, 45,221 people died of mesothelioma in the U.S. between 1999 and 2015, according to the most recent study.
Top Three Illnesses Caused by Asbestos
Asbestosis is a chronic lung disease caused by inhaling asbestos fiber that affects lung tissue, causing difficulty breathing and shortness of breath. Asbestosis often shows up many years after exposure, as long as 40 years later.
Symptoms include persistent dry cough, shortness of breath, a dry and cracking sound from the lungs upon inhalation, and rounded fingertips and toes that also appear wider. Diagnostic tests can diagnose asbestosis, including a chest X-ray and laboratory tests.
Mesothelioma is an aggressive and deadly cancer that affects the inner lining of organs, including the lungs and chest cavity. It is almost always caused by exposure to asbestos.
Symptoms include difficulty breathing, chest pain, difficulty swallowing, fluid accumulation in the chest, and pain caused by pressure on nerves and the spinal cord.
The pleura is the tissue that covers the outer walls of the lung and the chest cavity. The space between the two layers is the pleural space filled with enough fluids to lubricate the chest cavity for the up and down movements during breathing.
Asbestos inhalation can affect the pleura, resulting in pleura disease. The most common effect of pleura disease is an overproduction of fluid between the layers. Symptoms include difficulty breathing, chest pains, and shortness of breath.
What You Should Know About Asbestos in Louisiana
The use of asbestos products in the US has declined significantly. However, older buildings and houses may have materials containing asbestos. Also, other products, such as brake pads, gaskets, and friction materials, may still contain asbestos.
The best way to reduce asbestos exposure is to leave asbestos-containing materials undisturbed. If the materials are not damaged, they remain non-hazardous and will not release fibers. A professional should handle any repair on materials containing materials to avoid exposure.
How We Help Victims of Asbestos Exposure
Seek justice with the help of our experienced asbestos attorneys. Our asbestos law firm has represented individuals like you affected by asbestos exposure for over 20 years, aggressively fighting the corporate giants responsible for their dangerous products. If you or a loved one were exposed to asbestos or suffered from a disease caused by asbestos, like mesothelioma, we can help.