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Mesothelioma and Asbestos Law Blog

What is asbestosis?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral mined in numerous regions around the world. Centuries ago, asbestos was found to excel as a noncorrosive, flame-resistant insulator. Ground into fibers and mixed with various ingredients, asbestos was used in countless products including both consumer goods and construction materials. Unfortunately, it was later discovered that the ingestion or inhalation of asbestos fibers could lead to serious – often deadly – lung conditions.

Asbestos exposure at home: Is it a possibility?

Many Minnesota readers may recall the ban the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) placed on asbestos in 1989. However, such readers may be unaware that the ban was lifted several years later. Many homes throughout the state pose asbestos exposure risks to household members and visitors, particularly homes built in the 1970s or earlier.

Asbestos is a compilation of microscopic fibers used in construction materials. There is no safe amount of exposure to asbestos. The problem is symptoms of exposure may not be immediately apparent. In fact, many people with asbestos injuries do not know of their conditions until years later when symptoms of illness develop.

20 years since death of U.S. Rep. Bruce Vento from mesothelioma

It has been nearly 20 years since the death of Minnesota’s own U.S. Rep. Bruce Vento, who succumbed to mesothelioma in October 2000. Born and raised in St. Paul, Vento served the congressional district of his hometown region for 12 terms up until his death.

Vento’s background as a laborer and public school teacher shaped him in understanding the challenges of blue-collar workers and everyday people. This led to his political path, first in the Minnesota House of Representatives and then U.S. Congress, where he was known as a champion for environmental causes, banking reform, public housing and the homeless.

Asbestos exposure: Senator upset about government delay

In Minnesota and many other states, there are people being support by palliative care for terminal illnesses such as mesothelioma. It is a malignant tumor caused by asbestos exposure. Sadly, in many cases, injuries were preventable but were caused by employers' negligence in keeping their workers safe on the job.

A U.S. senator from another state recently criticized the Environmental Protection Agency, stating that thousands of lives remain at risk because of government delays in completing a review (and possible ban) of asbestos. The senator noted that the Lautenberg Act empowers the EPA to ban asbestos. He also said that, several years ago, chemical safety reform was passed with bipartisan agreement, but the EPA has not only failed to ban asbestos, it has not even completed the agreed upon review.

Asbestosis: Breathing disorder that is often preventable

Many Minnesota residents are currently receiving medical treatment for adverse health conditions that affect their lungs. Sadly, some diseases, such as asbestosis, are preventable, and those affected have suffered workplace injuries when their employers failed in their obligation to keep their employees safe. Asbestosis, mesothelioma and numerous other diseases occur when those who become afflicted are exposed to asbestos.

If a person inhales or ingests microscopic fibers of asbestos, it can become lodged in their lungs for years. This causes inflammation and scarring. It also impedes the person's ability to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide in the body. An asbestos injury isn't usually immediately apparent; instead, the illness can linger for years until symptoms develop.

Asbestos exposure cases require thorough investigation

If you're one of many Minnesota workers who began to experience ill-health symptoms after working in a factory, shipyard, school or other location, you are not alone. Many workers have experienced similar issues; in fact, some did not develop symptoms of illness until 10 or more years after the incident that caused their illness took place. For many workers, asbestos exposure was the causal factor regarding their injuries.

There is no safe amount of asbestos exposure. If you're exposed to the microscopic fibers in the workplace, you might inhale or ingest them, never knowing they were in the air or on the surfaces of objects with which you came in contact. Your employer, however, is obligated to inform you of known asbestos dangers on the job, and to provide proper training and any equipment available to help you stay safe.

Occupational asbestos exposure: Problem in Minnesota?

For years, Minnesota construction workers, as well as those in many other industries, have been at risk for health problems regarding asbestos. Occupational asbestos exposure and second-hand exposure have devastated the lives of many families in this state and across the country. If you've worked around asbestos or you are a family member whose loved one has come home wearing dirty work clothes from a construction site or other job, you may be one of thousands of people who have contracted mesothelioma, asbestosis or other incurable illness.

Much more is known about asbestos dangers now than was known 50 years ago. For instance, we've learned that simply doing laundry may cause second-hand asbestos exposure, which can lead to serious illness. There is no safe amount of exposure to asbestos, and the more friable (able to be crumbled or manipulated) a material containing asbestos is, the risk for injury increases.

Asbestos exposure a big risk for Minnesota baby boomers

Working during any time between 1940 and the late 1970s in Minnesota or beyond posed potentially serious health hazards to many people. Those who were working during the baby boomer era may now be have ill-health if they suffered asbestos exposure on the job. The U.S. government did not always regulate the use of asbestos as stringently as it does now.

Those who worked in shipyards, on U.S. military bases, in the automotive industry or as electricians were especially vulnerable for asbestos-related injuries. Sadly, there are many cases on record where employers were aware of asbestos dangers in the workplace but failed to inform or properly train and provide safety equipment to employees. In most cases, it was not until years later that workers were diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis or other diseases.

What is peritoneal mesothelioma?

The most common form of mesothelioma affects the lungs. This is because inhaling asbestos fibers is the most common form of exposure, and directly affects the lungs.

However, there are actually many kinds of mesothelioma, depending on where the cancer develops in the body. These other forms are rare, but it is still important to be aware of these other forms of the disease.

Have you or your loved one contracted asbestosis?

Thousands of people in Minnesota and beyond are ill right now but they might not know it. Asbestosis is a disease that often lies hidden in the body for years before symptoms arise. If you or your loved one was recently diagnosed with this condition or suspect that you may have been exposed to asbestos, this post is for you.

Inhaling microscopic asbestos fibers is highly dangerous to human health. In fact, there is no safe amount of exposure to asbestos. Whether you worked in a factory, mine or shipyard for years, or live in a home built before 1978, you may have ingested asbestos without realizing it. If there is known asbestos in your workplace (or was, if you are now retired) your employer is (or was) obligated to inform you and your co-workers, and also to provide proper training and safety equipment to help you stay safe.

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