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Did you know that in the early 1900s, companies using asbestos knew that it was dangerous and was potentially harmful to the public? Despite knowing the risks, these companies hid these dangers.
What is asbestos?
Asbestos refers to a group of six, naturally occurring, minerals including chrysotile, amosite, crocidolite, tremolite, actinolite and anthophyllite. All six are known carcinogens. The most commonly found types are chrysotile, also known as “white asbestos;” amosite, also known as “brown asbestos;” and crocidolite, also known as “blue asbestos”.
These minerals have been used throughout history; dating as far back as the Ancient Greeks and Romans who used the mineral in their clothing and building materials because of its fireproofing qualities. Roman history books show that Pliny the Elder noted “sickness of the lungs” in the slaves who worked with the mineral and wore clothing woven with asbestos.
Asbestos use gained popularity during the late 1800s, as factories prized the mineral for its fireproofing qualities. By the early 1900s, asbestos was being mined in the United States and used widely as insulation in railroad cars, shipyards, and automotive manufacturing. Throughout the 20th century, millions of tons of asbestos were mined in the United States and put in thousands of products as a very inexpensive filler. For example, asbestos was used in insulation, roof shingles, gaskets, flooring products, cements, drywall muds, brake and clutch linings, paints, and textiles.
As early as 1925, the companies that used asbestos knew that it was dangerous. Medical studies commissioned by the companies revealed these dangers, but the companies chose profits over safety and hid these studies. As a result of their decision to not provide warnings of the dangers, thousands of Americans have been killed by asbestos. It was not until the late 1970s that regulation of asbestos use began in the United States, and asbestos is still not banned.
How were you exposed?
Many of the companies that used asbestos have already admitted their guilt and have established trust funds to compensate the victims of mesothelioma. And other companies that used asbestos and that have not already established these funds regularly pay out on claims brought upon them by mesothelioma victims.
Even our brave armed forces that served our country were often exposed to asbestos. Many companies hid the dangers of asbestos from the military and military personnel and, as a result, many sailors, soldiers, air force personnel, and marines died from exposure to asbestos. Sailors were especially at risk as they were continually exposed to massive amounts of asbestos on Navy ships.
Have you been diagnosed with Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a cancer named for the mesothelium lining surrounding the lungs, the stomach, or the heart where it is found. The most common form of mesothelioma is called “pleural mesothelioma.” However, there are others, such as peritoneal or pericardial mesothelioma. Pleural mesothelioma occurs when the cancer is found in the pleura, the mesothelial tissue surrounding the lungs and lining of the chest cavity. Pericardium is the lining that covers and protects the heart, and peritoneum lining covers most of the organs in the abdominal cavity. If mesothelioma is found in either of these areas of the body, it is called “pericardial mesothelioma” or “peritoneal mesothelioma.”
Mesothelioma, like other forms of cancer, occurs when cells become abnormal and grow out of control or divide. In mesothelioma patients, the lubricating fluid in the lining may be over-produced. This excess fluid creates a rind type of layer of thick tumor tissue that puts pressure on the organs it surrounds. Patients with pleural mesothelioma often experience shortness of breath and a buildup of fluid in the chest area. As mesothelioma advances, the cancer cells metastasize, growing and invading other organs and spreading to other areas of the body.
Mesothelioma is not caused by smoking, and as of now, asbestos exposure is the only known cause of mesothelioma cancer.
There is often a latency period of 10 to 60 years after asbestos exposure before the symptoms of mesothelioma develop. Because of this long latency period, the disease commonly affects men and women that are at least 50 years of age who worked with asbestos between 10 and 60 years ago.