Mesothelioma, a relatively rare form of cancer, is almost always caused by exposure to asbestos. Unfortunately, asbestos exposure can occur in a variety of ways due to the mineral’s common uses.
Even though it has long been known that asbestos exposure could cause mesothelioma or other cancers, the product continues to be widely available in commercial products and in the workplace. Many Minnesota workers were exposed to asbestos on the job, and several area employers have been held liable for workers’ asbestos-related diseases.
However, it can be difficult to gauge how common mesothelioma may be. That is because not everyone who is exposed to asbestos develops the disease. And, when they do, it can be many years between the exposure and a diagnosis of mesothelioma.
According to the Mayo Clinic, it may take 20 to 60 years or even longer to develop mesothelioma after exposure to asbestos.
This long latency period makes it much harder to pin down exactly when the asbestos exposure occurred. However, people who worked for certain Minnesota employers have been shown to have an increased risk:
- Honeywell International, Inc.
- Conwed Corporation/Wood Conversion Company
- W.R. Grace/Western Mineral Plant
- Northern States Power Company and power plants around the state and region
For example, when 1,000 former Conwed employees were examined in 1988, about 30% of them had lung abnormalities.
In addition to those specific employers, many other occupations put people at risk for asbestos exposure, such as:
- Construction and demolition
- Pipe fitting
- Plastics molding
- Auto and aircraft mechanics
- The Navy
Because the latency period for mesothelioma is so long, it is crucial to get as much evidence as possible about your exposure. Firms that have been working on mesothelioma claims for years have built up a large collection of evidence that can be used in new cases. Sieben Polk has been handling asbestos exposure cases in Minnesota and the Upper Midwest since 1979.