Mesothelioma – the cancer caused by exposure to asbestos – continues to take a toll on workers. A major part of the problem is that victims may not develop symptoms for decades.
The long period between exposure and disease makes proving a mesothelioma case complex. Workers in five particular occupations have greater reason to worry.
Who is in danger?
Asbestos, because of its fireproof properties, was common in many industries for centuries. For example:
- Railroads used the mineral in equipment and locomotive parts
- Shipbuilders valued it as fire resistant and an insulator
- Factory workers manufactured thousands of products containing asbestos
- The mineral was a component in dry wall, shingles, spackling, tiles and concrete mixes
- The underground mining of asbestos continued in the United States until 2002
Then asbestos became linked to various cancers, including mesothelioma. By the 1980s, many companies stopped using the mineral. Even so, the use of asbestos remains legal today under certain guidelines.
What are the dangers?
Workers breathed in asbestos fibers on the job, unaware of the deadly consequences. Mesothelioma attacks the lungs, abdomen, heart and testicles. It is an aggressive and deadly form of cancer. While some treatments are possible, it is often a death sentence for victims.
Symptoms are wide ranging. Some of them include chest pain, painful coughing, a buildup of fluid and shortness of breath. Others include unusual lumps of tissue under the skin in the chest, and weight loss or loss of appetite. Some victims experience abdominal swelling or pain, nausea, fatigue and an irregular heartbeat.
Pursuing a workers’ compensation claim is never easy. Doing so in a case that spans an entire career over decades is a daunting task for anyone.
What are you up against?
Making matters worse, many companies engaged in a cover-up about asbestos. Some continued to use the mineral even after the dangers became known.
Your old employer is not going to admit any fault. The burden is on you to prove that exposure decades ago is threatening your life today.