Exposure to asbestos causes long-term health complications that can be deadly long after an individual has been exposed to the material. Exposure can occur at work or in the home, and it is estimated that nearly 11 million people were exposed to asbestos between 1940 and 1978. It is further estimated that between 2 and 10% of these individuals will develop pleural mesothelioma as a result of their exposure.
The Use of Asbestos
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fiber that was used primarily for it's thermal and sound insulation properties. It was woven into insulating panels, drywall, concrete, flooring, lawn furniture, gloves, talc powder, and clothing that was intended to protect individuals from burns. In the United States, the use of asbestos peaked in 1973. After that time, many new regulations were put in place limiting the use of the material, however, contrary to popular belief, it's usage is not entirely banned. Today, asbestos continues to be used in brake pads, gaskets, roofing products, and fireproof clothing materials.
Exposure Causes Long-Term Health Complications
Symptoms of asbestos exposure can take between 20 to 50 years to manifest. These symptoms can include persistent abdominal pain, chest pains, anemia, difficulty breathing, constant fatigue, and weight loss. These symptoms do not clear up and often get worse as conditions such as mesothelioma progress. Each year, between 2,000 and 3,000 individuals are diagnosed with mesothelioma as a result of exposures that occurred decades ago. Between 70 to 90% of these individuals will experience health problems in the pleural cavity which includes the heart and lungs.
It is estimate that from 1999 to 2013, up to 37,000 individuals died from mesothelioma and other health complications stemming from asbestos exposure. Illinois ranks 7th in the nation for the number of asbestos related deaths and the state is home to a number of Superfund sites that are heavily contaminated with the material.
Compensation for Asbestos Injuries
Individuals who have been exposed to asbestos should contact a McHenry County personal injury attorney to discuss their legal options. Individuals must file asbestos related claims within two years of being diagnosed with an asbestos related health condition. Further, these claims must be filed no later than 25 years after the date an individual was exposed to asbestos. Thus, it is imperative to carefully monitor an individual's health in order to pursue compensation as soon as any problems become apparent.