Asbestos has been used for thousands of years and for just as long, people have been getting sick because of their exposure to the deadly material.
The Greek and Roman slaves that mined the naturally occurring mineral for use in linen were observed to have respiratory problems by writers of the period. Still today, people are falling ill because of asbestos exposure, but now there are asbestos attorneys to help victims get the justice and compensation they deserve.
According to the National Cancer Institute asbestos "has been mined and used commercially in North America since the late 1800s. Its use increased greatly during World War II. Since then, asbestos has been used in many industries."
The trades that involve regular exposure to asbestos include insulation, ship building, construction, pipefitting, plumbing, mining, textile workers and auto mechanics.
Asbestos is used in these and other industries for a number of reasons, most notably its utility as an insulator and its resistance to fire. Sometimes, the exposure workers endured on the job was incidental, such as a mechanic performing maintenance on a brake pad, and other times it was direct, like when a textile worker wove asbestos into a garment.
Regardless of how one is exposed to asbestos, it can cause a number of serious illnesses such as malignant mesothelioma, asbestosis and lung cancer.
Those who feel that they may have been exposed to the carcinogenic substance while at work may want to contact an asbestos attorney to see if there is any legal recourse to their situation.
Malignant mesothelioma is a rare cancer caused by asbestos exposure wherein the thin membrane that lines the chest, abdomen and many of the body's internal organs is affected.
According to the Mayo Clinic, mesothelioma "is an aggressive and deadly form of cancer. Mesothelioma treatments are available, but for many people with mesothelioma, a cure is not possible. Instead, treatment for mesothelioma is often focused on keeping you as comfortable as possible."
Making treatment of the cancer even more difficult is that symptoms may not manifest themselves for decades following the exposure to asbestos. This is one of the reason's why it might make sense for those with the disease to hire an asbestos attorney to help them investigate and determine where and when they came in contact with the harmful substance. The answers to these questions are often essential to help the work of asbestos attorneys.
Asbestosis is another disease caused by exposure to asbestos. It is a breathing disorder that involves the accumulation of asbestos fibers in the lungs, which over time can have serious health consequences.
"Most people with asbestosis acquired it on the job before the federal government began regulating the use of asbestos and asbestos products in the mid-1970s," according to the Mayo Clinic.
While the use of asbestos has been regulated for a number of decades, new cases of asbestosis can still be diagnosed because, like many other diseases related to the mineral, there can be a long period between exposure and the development of the illness.
As is the case with malignant mesothelioma, those with asbestosis may want to contact an asbestos attorney to help them determine how they were exposed to the deadly mineral and if any of their past employers could be held liable.
Asbestos-related diseases impact an incredible amount of people not only in the U.S. but around the globe. Indeed, the World Health Organization has estimated that 107,000 people die each year worldwide because of an asbestos-related illness. In many cases those with such diseases may want to get in touch with an asbestos attorney to help them get justice.