Asbestos became a popular building material in the 1970s. During that time, asbestos was used in everything from cars to houses because of its resistance to corrosion, heat, electricity, and chemicals. But, soon, the dark side of asbestos was discovered. Experts realized that asbestos was the cause of different kinds of breathing issues and cancers. Because of that realization, the United States decided to begin regulating the use of this toxic substance. Agencies like the OSHA and the United States Environmental Protection Agency came in to limit asbestos exposure. However, although asbestos is highly regulated in the United States today, the toxic substance still threatens the lives of many Americans. Asbestos can be found in quite a number of old buildings and products across the country. Also, asbestos can still be used in consumer products as long as it accounts for less than 1% of the product.
When left undisturbed, asbestos is rather harmless. On the other hand, when disturbed and released into the air, any form of asbestos poses serious health risks. One of the most serious health issues associated with asbestos is mesothelioma. Unfortunately, it can take up to six decades after asbestos exposure for someone to realize they have mesothelioma. Therefore, people who were exposed to asbestos in the 20th century are at risk of being diagnosed with mesothelioma right now. On the other hand, those individuals currently falling victim to asbestos exposure are at risk of being diagnosed with mesothelioma years from now.
As already mentioned, asbestos is relatively harmless when left undisturbed and extremely dangerous when disturbed. Because of this, individuals must remain aware of some situations that should trigger asbestos exposure concerns. Some of the situations that should trigger such concerns include;
- Building fires
- The demolition of old buildings
- The renovation of old buildings
- The repairing of old cars
- Natural disasters such as floods or earthquakes
The events mentioned above can disturb previously intact asbestos, making it possible for individuals in the area to inhale asbestos fibers.
The risk of being exposed to this toxic substance is extremely high for individuals who repeatedly find themselves in any of the above situations. Firefighters, for instance, face a high risk of exposure. Even though asbestos was mainly used in buildings because it is heat resistant and not flammable, a fire can still expose people to asbestos. When asbestos-containing materials catch fire, they can release asbestos fibers into the air and expose people to asbestos-related illnesses such as mesothelioma. Also, when a building collapses, asbestos fibers may be released into the air.
Asbestos exposure recently became an issue for over 100 firefighters. While battling a fire at the corner of Blackson Avenue and the North Interstate 35 service road, more than 100 firefighters might have been exposed to asbestos. Firefighters who quickly raced to put out a warehouse fire on May 6 were notified of their exposure after a third alarm unit that arrived about an hour later noticed that the smoke swirling around the scene was likely asbestos-contaminated.
Arizona Mesothelioma Lawyers
If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help you and your family live a more comfortable life.