Asbestos was commonly used as insulation in American buildings for almost a century. This versatile fibrous material is resistant to heat, fire, noise, chemical damage and electrical current. Unfortunately, it is also deadly to the human body. A worker compensation lawyer in Crystal Lake can recall many cases in which workers are disabled or killed by the effects of asbestos exposure.
A heavy toll in America
The three main diseases linked to asbestos have taken a heavy toll in recent years. Although the material is almost completely absent from new construction, it still lingers in older buildings and causes damage to workers. Symptoms of these diseases can take many years to develop.
Asbestos-related disease #1: Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is a deadly form of cancer that develops within the mesothelium, the lining of the body’s organs. It can begin in the chest wall, the heart, the genital organs, the abdominal cavity or other areas of the body. Mesothelioma was extremely rare until asbestos became a popular insulating substance. Now it kills thousands every year. Every worker compensation lawyer in Crystal Lake is aware that the prognosis for this particular type of cancer is tragically poor. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 30,000 people have died in America during the last decade from this form of asbestos-related cancer.
Asbestos-related disease #2: Lung cancer
Lung cancer is another type of malignancy that commonly develops after asbestos exposure. This cancer can strike unexpectedly and spread rapidly. It can affect even healthy young non-smokers when they breathe asbestos dust. According to the National Cancer Institute, only 18.6 percent of people with lung cancer survive for five years or more after diagnosis.
Asbestos-related disease #3: Asbestosis
Exposure to asbestos dust can also cause severe inflammation and fibrosis of the lungs. This condition, known as asbestosis, affects many workers who have spent years or decades in close contact with the substance. Symptoms of asbestosis may include all of the following:
- Shortness of breath
- Decreased lung capacity
- Noisy breathing after exertion
- Respiratory failure
There is no known cure for asbestosis. Many patients must undergo oxygen therapy and drainage of the lungs to maintain respiratory function. A worker compensation lawyer in Crystal Lake is well acquainted with the damage this disease can do to workers and their families.
If you have been exposed to asbestos on the job in Illinois, you may be concerned about your health and the future of your career. You might find it helpful to discuss the details of your case with a worker compensation attorney.