What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that is found worldwide and has been used throughout history for textiles, construction, and insulation. While asbestos was once considered a “wonder fiber,” it is now known to be the only cause of a malignant mesothelioma prognosis.
Asbestos exposure can also lead to asbestosis, lung cancer, and a number of other asbestos diseases. At Shrader & Associates L.L.P., our asbestos exposure attorneys are dedicated to pursuing justice for victims of asbestos exposure and their families. Call (844) 256-8685 to learn more.
History of Mesothelioma & Asbestos
Asbestos has been valued throughout history for its durability, insulation and heat resistance properties. Archaeologists have found remnants of homes built with asbestos and asbestos pottery in Scandinavian ruins dating from 3000 BC. There is evidence of asbestos being used in embalming and textiles in ancient Egypt, and there are even stories about Charlemagne throwing his asbestos tablecloth into the fire to show off its fire resistance. In the Industrial Revolution, asbestos found new uses.
At the end of the 19th century, asbestos was used in brake linings, building materials, textiles, and insulation. The use of asbestos was widespread all over the world until the 1970s, when clear documentation linking mesothelioma asbestos to lung cancer, asbestosis, and other diseases caused asbestos use to decline sharply. For as long as asbestos has been used, it has been connected to respiratory health issues.
Historians have found records from the first century documenting the health hazards of asbestos. In Ancient Egypt, slaves who worked with asbestos were less valuable because of their propensity to develop lung ailments such as respiratory failure. 1906 saw the first documented death traced to mesothelioma asbestos, and insurance companies began decreasing benefits for asbestos workers as early as 1908.
In the 1970s, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (EPA) began regulation of asbestos. Today, strict laws protect workers from asbestos exposure. Despite the current enforcement to protect workers from asbestos today, there is no way to undo the harm done to workers in asbestos jobs prior to the 1980s.
Why Is Asbestos Dangerous?
Asbestos fibers, which are tiny in size, can be inhaled or swallowed and become embedded in the soft tissues of the body. These fibers cause irritation and subsequent inflammation, leading to a buildup of scar tissue, fluids, and plaque that pave the way for cancer cells to develop.
A known cause of mesothelioma, asbestos has been linked to cancer. Asbestos in the body can also lead to lung cancer, asbestosis, and throat, esophagus, and kidney cancer.
Types of Asbestos
While more than 100 mineral fibers are said to be “asbestos-like,” only six main forms of asbestos are regulated by the U.S. government, all of which have some commercial use. Asbestos fibers are classified into two groups: serpentine (curly) and amphibole (straight in appearance). Only chrysotile asbestos is in the serpentine category, while tremolite, crocidolite, anthophyllite, amosite, and actinolite asbestos are straight in appearance.
More about types of asbestos:
- Tremolite asbestos is the main ingredient in industrial and commercial talc. It is white and chalky in appearance.
- Crocidolite asbestos, also known as blue asbestos, is believed to be the most toxic form of asbestos. It comes mainly from Southern Africa and Australia.
- Anthophyllite asbestos is brittle and white. This form of asbestos contains iron and is mostly used because of its resistance to heat.
- Amosite asbestos, or brown asbestos, is most commonly used for insulation.
- Actinolite asbestos is elongated and flat in structure and has little resistance to chemicals.
- Chrysotile asbestos comprises roughly 95 percent of asbestos used worldwide.
Our Illinois Mesothelioma Lawyers Serve Clients Nationwide
Exposure to asbestos doesn’t mean that a person will automatically develop mesothelioma, asbestosis, or another asbestos disease. However, asbestos is the only cause of mesothelioma and asbestosis and can be a contributing factor to the development of other types of cancer. In many cases, people with mesothelioma asbestos-related illnesses or another asbestos cancer can file suit to hold the parties behind their exposure to asbestos accountable.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos cancer, the asbestos attorneys at Shrader & Associates L.L.P. would like to hear your story. Our Illinois mesothelioma lawyers have helped thousands of families navigate the legal process and recover compensation for their damages. We serve clients nationwide, so no matter where you live in the United States, we are ready to provide you with the unrelenting legal support you deserve.
Contact us today at (844) 256-8685 for a free legal consultation with an asbestos attorney.