What Is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring, heat-resistant mineral that has been used in many materials including drywall, insulation, cement, brake pads, and more. Asbestos left undisturbed is not considered harmful. However, if an asbestos-containing material is drilled into, cut, or disturbed in some other way, asbestos fibers are released into the air and can be inhaled or ingested. The fibers get caught in a person’s lungs or digestive tract, the body is unable to expel the fibers, and diseases can develop as a result.
The Different Types of Asbestos
Not all asbestos is the same. The two broad categories of asbestos are serpentine and amphibole. Serpentine asbestos is made up of long, flexible fibers and is the most commonly used type of asbestos. Amphibole asbestos is composed of needle-shaped fibers and is less commonly used.
Both of these categories can be broken down into more specific types of asbestos:
- Serpentine asbestos: chrysotile (“white asbestos”)
- Amphibole asbestos: Crocidolite (“blue asbestos”), amosite (“brown asbestos”), anthophyllite, tremolite, and actinolite.
All Types of Asbestos Are Harmful
While different types of asbestos have different physical properties, all asbestos is harmful. Fibers stuck in the body cause scarring, and as a result, a person can develop an asbestos-related disease such as asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma. Regardless of the type of asbestos, any amount of exposure poses danger to a person’s health.
Although a link exists between asbestos and the development of a serious disease, its use in materials is not completely banned. In the 1970s, the government began regulating asbestos use in an attempt to limit exposure. However, because asbestos was used in construction and building materials for many years, even today people are at risk of being exposed to asbestos. That does not mean they have inhaled or ingested the fibers, but it is probable that they have come into contact with an asbestos-containing material.
Who Is at Risk of Asbestos Exposure?
Because asbestos has been, and is still, widely used in many materials, certain occupations place workers at a high risk of asbestos exposure. Firefighters, construction workers, insulators, and factory workers, among numerous others, can be exposed to asbestos on the job. Unfortunately, since asbestos fibers cannot be seen, workers may be unaware that asbestos fibers are caught on their clothing, and they can unknowingly bring the fibers into their homes, exposing family members to asbestos.
Mesothelioma development has been directly linked to asbestos exposure. If you or a loved one have been exposed to asbestos and were diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be able to seek compensation for your expenses. Our experienced Illinois mesothelioma lawyers at Shrader & Associates L.L.P. are dedicated to getting a beneficial outcome for your case.
To get the help of a mesothelioma attorney who will give your case the attention it deserves, call Shrader & Associates L.L.P. today at (713) 787-3733 or contact us online. We accept cases nationwide.