Asbestos is a group of naturally occurring minerals containing thin microscopic fibers. Resistant to fire, heat, and chemicals, these fibers have been mined and widely used in a variety of automotive and construction industry products, such as car clutch pads, brake shoes, and ceiling/floor tiles.
If asbestos particles become airborne and are inhaled or ingested, they often become embedded in the lungs or other cavity tissues for decades, eventually causing serious health problems. Those health problems most commonly include asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma (a rare cancer affecting the lining of the lungs, abdomen, and chest cavity).
Historically, asbestos workers and those working in the construction and auto industries suffer the highest risk of asbestos exposure. Families of workers who handle asbestos may also be at risk since workers may bring the fibers home on their clothes, hair, and skin. In addition, those living close to asbestos mines are at risk of developing mesothelioma because the particles can become airborne.
Unfortunately, asbestos exposure is not just a risk for certain industry workers. The fibers are also sometimes present in building materials found in homes, such as insulation, floor tiles, and ceiling tiles. In addition, asbestos is also found in some of the following:
- Garden products
- Talc-containing crayons
While asbestos is much less widely used than it was a few decades ago, it can still be found in many older products.
Several factors determine how likely a person is to become sick from asbestos-related diseases. These factors include the length of exposure, the amount of exposure, the size/shape of the asbestos fibers, and the presence of any other lung diseases. In addition, smoking cigarettes has been found to greatly increase the risk of developing health problems related to asbestos exposure.
If you have health problems that you believe to be caused by asbestos, you may be able to take legal action against those responsible for your exposure. Contact a Philadelphia asbestos lawyer to discuss your claim.