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What are the risks of asbestos exposure and who can it affect?

Asbestos was used in Ohio and across the United States in a wide range of products for quite some time up until the late 1970s. Several products made with asbestos include different building materials, pipes, car parts, railroad parts and even paints. Unfortunately, it wasn't known until well after its wide use that asbestos exposure can have life-altering effects that may not be felt for several years after the initial contact.

Prolonged asbestos exposure can lead to lung diseases which can be life-threatening. As asbestos was used in products used at both home and work, the amount of people exposed to its risks is significant. A large group of individuals whose careers involved specific areas of work before the 1970s are particularly at risk. Some of these jobs include miners, construction workers, railroad workers, building engineers and auto mechanics. Family members of these workers are also considered at risk for having been exposed to asbestos contaminants that were brought home on their loved one's clothes.

While asbestos is still used today, certain safety standards are now in place to help prevent exposure. However, people working in or near older buildings may still be at risk for developing asbestos-related lung diseases. The level of risk typically varies based on the length of exposure, the type of asbestos used and any added personal health risks such as smoking.

Thankfully, asbestos exposure is decreasing as tighter safety standards are put in place and the use of the product is being reduced. However, since asbestos-related lung diseases often take years to present themselves, individuals who were frequently exposed to products containing asbestos -- either at work or home -- may not correlate their lung disease to the asbestos exposure right away. Ohio residents who have been diagnosed with lung disease believed to be related to prolonged asbestos exposure may be entitled to file legal claims against any former employers or product manufacturers they believe to be responsible for the exposure. Successfully litigated claims may result in a monetary award that will provide compensation for the financial losses suffered as a result the exposure and any related adverse medical events.

Source: nhlbi.nih.gov, "Who Is at Risk for Asbestos-Related Lung Diseases?", , Aug. 24, 2014

Source: nhlbi.nih.gov, "Who Is at Risk for Asbestos-Related Lung Diseases?", , Aug. 24, 2014

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