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Eagan Minnesota Mesothelioma and Asbestos Law Blog

Mesothelioma: Symptoms might stay hidden for years

It is possible to have a terminal illness and not know it. Many Minnesota residents will be among others throughout the country who receive a diagnosis this year, informing them that they have an incurable disease. Mesothelioma is one such disease, and it often afflicts people who have worked in coal mines, factories, shipyards or old school buildings.

The symptoms of mesothelioma are typically not immediately apparent. In fact, the disease is usually slowly developing inside a person's body for years before he or she even feels ill. One of the most common first symptoms of the disease is a lingering cough.

Asbestos exposure risk high when materials are friable

In Minnesota and most other states, danger lurks in many factories, schools, shipyards, old buildings and even private homes. The danger is caused by asbestos. Asbestos exposure is highly likely when materials containing the microscopic fibers become friable.

If an asbestos containing material can be crumbled or pulverized, it is a serious danger. The ability to be reduced to powder form under hand pressure is known as friability. The more friable a material is, the greater the risk that anyone exposed to the area might contract an asbestos-related disease.

Exposure to asbestos: Three critical things to know

Although the Minnesota state and federal governments have tried to regulate and eliminate the use of asbestos, it is still a threat to individuals both young and old. And knowing about those risks is the first step to determining how to protect yourself or take action if you or a loved one suffered from exposure to asbestos.

So, here are three essential things that everyone should know about asbestos exposure, regardless of their age:

Asbestos exposure cleanup to be very expensive

In 2006, a man purchased a building that had contained a former power plant. His sons and others were working under his direction when they were reportedly told to remove pipes and other items from the building. They may not have realized it at the time, but doing so may have placed them at great risk for asbestos exposure because the pipes and other areas in the building contained high levels of the toxic materials. Those who work in Minnesota in buildings that are high-risk asbestos sites may wish to follow this case.

To make matters worse, a lot of the piping and other building materials were apparently sold as scrap metal, which means anyone who purchased it or came in contact with it may also have been exposed to asbestos. Since there is no safe amount of asbestos exposure, it is logical to assume that even a single incident can have negative health consequences. In 2013, Environmental Protection Agency representatives visited the former power plant.

Yet another school warns parents about asbestos exposure

Minnesota schools, like those in most other states, are gearing up for or have already begun a new school year. It is understandable that parents might have certain concerns as their children head back to their classrooms. Some kids are new students. Others might have learning disabilities or social issues that make their parents especially anxious. No parent, however, should have to worry that their child might become ill due to asbestos exposure at school.

Sadly, there are have been numerous schools in recent years that have had to inform faculty, students and parents of asbestos-related problems. In fact, elementary school students in another state were given letters to take home to their parents or guardians on a recent Wednesday. It was not a letter about Open House night or some other fun event taking place at the school. Instead, it was a letter informing parents that there are materials in the school building that contain asbestos.

Mesothelioma: A diagnosis that often stems from the workplace

Minnesota workers have often been placed at risk for asbestos injuries. Sadly, in many situations, the employers in question knew there were risks, but for various reasons, either did not inform their workers or failed to provide proper training and equipment to help keep them safe. Employers are legally obligated to do so. Often, a worker learns of his or her injury when a doctor diagnoses him or her with mesothelioma.

The lungs, heart and other organs of the body are lined with tissue that is known as mesothelium. When tumors develop in the tissues, it is called mesothelioma, which often develops into malignancy. Mesothelioma cancer is a terminal disease, meaning there is no known cure so the illness ultimately results in death.

Asbestos exposure a high priority concern in another state

Naturally occurring silicate minerals that can be woven into fabric exist in a product commonly referred to as asbestos. It may come as a surprise to some that asbestos products are still used today, even though they are known carcinogens. While there are stringent regulations regarding the use or removal of asbestos, many people are at great risk for injuries because of asbestos exposure. In fact, it appears to be a significant problem in many Minnesota schools, as well as schools located in other states.

In one state, numerous school districts have incurred citations in the past 10 years because staff members were not properly trained with regard to asbestos. The finance and operations director at one school said officials know there is asbestos in the adhesive that was used to lay tile to the floors throughout the building. He also said those tiles are covered with carpet that is in poor condition, and it was during a carpet removal project that asbestos was discovered in the classrooms.

Minnesota sues EPA for stricter asbestos regulation

Scientists and the United States government have known about the dangers of asbestos for decades. The mineral’s fire-resistant fibers can get stuck in clothing and trapped within the human body. It’s a known carcinogen and the leading cause of malignant mesothelioma. So why doesn’t the Environmental Protection Agency simply ban asbestos?

That’s one question at the heart of a new lawsuit. According to Reuters, Minnesota, nine other states and Washington D.C. sued the EPA to tighten its asbestos regulations. And this lawsuit comes not long after The New York Times reported that the EPA offered its latest asbestos regulations with a clear disregard for its experts' recommendations.

Popcorn ceiling: Dangerous DIY?

As the weather warms up, it is time to start thinking about summer projects in and around the house. Whether you are looking to sell your home and take advantage of low home inventories in the twin cities or you want to make an update to your home, there are always plenty of projects to fill the summer.

After a long winter of being indoors, it may seem like a good time to update your popcorn ceiling. Redoing a ceiling can be an ambitious undertaking. If the ceiling does not contain asbestos, your ceilings can be a great weekend project. A ceiling containing asbestos, however, is a risky project that should be left to the professionals.

There's no such thing as a safe amount of asbestos exposure

If you work, attend school or live in Minnesota, you may, at times, be at risk for injuries without necessarily realizing it ahead of time. Especially in a working environment, as a paid employee, you rely on your employer to not only be aware of the risks associated with your duties but also to provide proper training, information and safety equipment to keep you as safe as possible on the job. When an injury risk involves asbestos exposure, it can often be too late by the time you learn about the danger.

Perhaps you worked or lived in a building some years ago where construction or renovation was happening nearby. You may not have known that you were exposed to asbestos during that time. Now, years later, you may be experiencing adverse health symptoms that have prompted you to seek a medical diagnosis.

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