In the U.S., Ohio leads in the production of rubber, plastics and metal products. While this industry has many benefits, there are also risks. Because these products are manufactured using insulation and fireproofing, many people have been exposed to asbestos across the state.
As more and more firefighters are diagnosed with various forms of cancers, it has become obvious that there is a link between their work and their health. Until recently, Ohio firefighters had a difficult time obtaining compensation for cancer diagnoses caused by their work conditions. Fortunately, Ohio lawmakers changed all that with legislation that became effective early this year.
While asbestos remains to this day an ongoing problem across the nation, Ohio workers were often exposed decades ago due to fact that many industries used the substance and failed to warn employees of its dangers or provide adequate protection. Years later, those involved often suffer mesothelioma or other cancers related to asbestos exposure and may have grounds to seek compensation to help pay for costly medical treatments and other damages sustained. In another state, some former students are now facing the same fears and are taking school district to trial as a result.
A recent $25 million settlement for miners in another state could prove promising for asbestos victims in Ohio. More than 100 people were awarded the money from their state for its failure to warn residents and their families of the high levels of asbestos to which they were being exposed from a nearby mine, and its accompanying dangers. This case of asbestos litigation will hopefully encourage other victims to step forward and seek legal recompense for their suffering.
While the use of asbestos has declined since its dangers were recognized, it was once a prevalent building material in Ohio and nationwide, used by companies ranging from construction to automotive manufacturing. Sadly, it was only after the loss of many lives due to the cancer caused by asbestos exposure that the material was finally declared unsafe. Today, there is even an Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization whose purpose is to use education, advocacy and community to end asbestos exposure.
A little hope for mesothelioma victims is always a good thing. The American Cancer Society reports that around 3,000 people in Ohio and across the country are diagnosed with the incurable, fatal disease every year, and treatment is generally palliative. The director of one of the country's leading research hospitals says mesothelioma is among the deadliest cancers known. It often takes decades to develop and often begins showing symptoms only after it is too late to treat.
Asbestos is a slow killer, affecting victims decades after exposure. Asbestos causes 107,000 deaths and more than 1,523,000 disabilities each year around the world. The chemical poses a serious threat to many unsuspecting Americans. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has finally gotten a step ahead in its fight to ban the chemical.
A diagnosis of mesothelioma is catastrophic. There is no cure for the fatal form of cancer of the chest and abdomen, and because of its dormancy, victims can typically expect their lives to end only a short time after their diagnosis. The link between mesothelioma and asbestos exposure is widely accepted. Although the use of asbestos in Ohio and across the country has declined over the decades, the risk of exposure still exists because it was so widely used in building construction and automotive manufacturing.
Ohio is a high-risk state for asbestos-related disease due to the major industries here. Unfortunately, symptoms from asbestos exposure take a very long time to show. Even though steps are being made to decrease the risk of asbestos exposure, those exposed in the past may still face the consequences in the future.
When someone in Ohio receives a diagnosis of mesothelioma, the prognosis is usually bleak. Mesothelioma often shows no symptoms until the cancer has progressed to its later stages. Because it may present with flu-like symptoms, mesothelioma is sometimes misdiagnosed until the point at which treatment options are limited. Those options, when applied aggressively, along with positive lifestyle changes, may add time and quality to a patient's life.