Current wave of asbestos related deaths brings attention to new problems

The third wave of asbestos related deaths is a problem our generation is dealing with right now.

Asbestos exposure is not a problem of the past. Media reports are bringing attention to the fact that many people are still exposed to this dangerous substance. This exposure has brought on a third wave of asbestos related deaths. These deaths are the result of current exposure, not exposure from generations ago.

Once inhaled, this small, fibrous material remains within the individual's lungs, causing damage to lung tissue. This can result in a number of diseases, including the rare and fatal form of cancer known as mesothelioma.

How do we know that recent asbestos related diseases are from current exposure?

Many of the recently reported deaths due to mesothelioma involve individuals that are age 55 or younger. This leads investigators to believe that the exposure was recent. When attempting to determine exposure, asbestos related diseases are broken down into three waves. The first wave involves those who were tasked with mining and manufacturing the material and the second with tradesmen who worked with the material. The newly recognized third wave involves those who come into exposure with the material as it is removed from older projects. This can occur when a home or machine that contains the material is remodeled or updated. The removal process can result in asbestos fibers getting into the air, increasing the chances that the fibers will get inhaled by those working to remove the material or anyone else in the vicinity of the project.

It is also important to note that although there are national protections against the inclusion of asbestos within certain products, not every product is asbestos free. Products either made before these regulations went into place or those made in other countries may still contain this dangerous substance.

How big of a problem is asbestos exposure?

A recent piece by National Public Radio discussed the problem, noting that even after decades of regulation of asbestos there were 45,221 deaths from mesothelioma, a cancer that results from asbestos exposure, between 1999 and 2015.

What should I do if I am diagnosed with a disease caused by asbestos exposure?

Those who were exposed to asbestos in the workplace may be able to hold their employer accountable for the costs incurred from an asbestos related disease. These costs can include past and future medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, lost wages from both the past and future as well as lost enjoyment of life.

Putting together this type of case can be difficult, as the evidence needed to support the case can span back decades. Causing further difficulty is the fact that in many cases the evidence will go back not just to the employer, but even further to the manufacturer or distributor of the asbestos product. As such, it is wise for those who believe they have a claim to contact an attorney.