The once widespread use of asbestos has left generations at risk for developing a fatal cancer. Every year, around 3,000 people learn that they have this deadly disease called mesothelioma. This is not just a problem of the past, either. Degrading asbestos is a source of new and ongoing exposure in Ohio.
Starting in the 1920s, asbestos was widely used in construction and other industries for more than 60 years. During that time, manufacturers put asbestos in things like plaster, heating ducts, roofing tiles, vinyl floors, insulation and more. It is very likely that any building built before 1980 has asbestos, regardless of whether it is commercial or residential.
So, why is asbestos dangerous if it is safely tucked away inside something like insulation that the average person will never access? Like most things in life, asbestos-containing materials — ACMs — degrade over time, and when this happens, tiny asbestos fibers are released into the air. Ohio homeowners, workers or anyone visiting a building with deteriorating ACMs can then inhale these fibers, which damages the internal linings of organs like the lungs, stomach and heart. However, about 90% of all mesothelioma cases develop in the lungs.
While most cancers have genetic components that influence who will get sick, mesothelioma is one of the few cancers that is only caused by outside influences. Receiving a diagnosis can be a shock, too, especially if a patient did not realize that he or she had even been exposed in the first place. Since tracing when and how exposure occurred is essential to securing compensation for things like medical bills and pain and suffering, it may be advantageous to speak with an experienced attorney about this process.