Asbestos was a standard product used in shipbuilding during the mid-20th century. Various shipping components such as pipe insulation, paint and mattress filling exposed shipyard workers to asbestos fibers.
Even though the U.S. banned asbestos in the 1970s, the health consequences of exposure continue through the years.
1. Asbestos is the leading cause of mesothelioma
According to the Cleveland Clinic, there are 3,000 and 4,000 new mesothelioma cases each year, and about 80% of those people most likely got it from asbestos exposure. The strong asbestos fibers break off and get trapped in the stomach and lungs of those who worked with the product. The fibers irritate the lung and stomach lining, causing inflammation that leads to mesothelioma, a type of cancer.
2. Long-term consequences of mesothelioma
Small amounts of asbestos exposure may prolong the time before a patient experiences symptoms. It can take 20 to 60 years before problems develop. Common signs of mesothelioma are trouble breathing, shortness of breath and chest pain. However, since exposure could have been several decades ago, many patients do not think about previous interactions with asbestos when seeking medical care.
3. Several parties are liable for mesothelioma
The law allows ill workers to seek financial damages from different businesses that allowed asbestos exposure to occur, such as:
- companies that manufactured products with asbestos
- businesses that used asbestos-laden products
- workplaces that allowed known asbestos exposure to continue
- vendors that sold asbestos products
In Louisiana, sickened workers have one year after receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis to file a suit against liable parties.
Being aware that mesothelioma might occur decades after asbestos exposure allows shipyard workers to seek early medical intervention to improve their quality of life and act promptly to seek damages.