Asbestos exposure is the primary cause of mesothelioma. While asbestos exposure can occur in the workplace, it can also happen at schools and homes, as well as when using certain types of products. Determining the source of asbestos exposure can be essential to figuring out the available legal remedies for those diagnosed with mesothelioma.
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How Asbestos Exposure Can Cause Mesothelioma
Asbestos is a compilation of six fibrous minerals, making it heat- and fire-resistant. Coming into contact with asbestos can result in the inhalation of small asbestos fibers. These fibers can inflame, irritate, and damage the lining of the lungs, abdomen, and/or heart. They can also become lodged in these linings.
Over time, the damage caused by asbestos fibers can cause malignant (cancerous) cells to develop. Where these malignancies develop determines the type of mesothelioma a person has. While there are various types of mesothelioma, some of the more common types include:
- Pleural mesothelioma, affecting the lungs
- Peritoneal mesothelioma, impacting the abdomen
- Pericardial mesothelioma, affecting the heart.
Pleural mesothelioma is by far the most common form, accounting for about 80 percent of mesothelioma diagnoses.
Mesothelioma Risk Factors
While asbestos exposure is the only known scientific cause of mesothelioma, various factors can increase the risk of developing this cancer. Some risk factors for mesothelioma include:
- Smoking, with some research indicating that smoking in conjunction with a history of asbestos exposure can increase the risk of developing mesothelioma by as much as 50 to 90 percent
- Exposure to radiation, certain viruses, and/or certain toxic substances.
Occupations at Risk of Asbestos Exposure & Mesothelioma
Certain jobs put workers directly in contact with asbestos on a regular basis. These workers with a higher risk of asbestos exposure and, consequently, an elevated risk of developing mesothelioma include (but are not limited to):
- Construction workers
- Demolition workers
- Remediation and abatement workers
- Shipyard workers
- Military veterans
- Steel mill workers
- Power plant workers
- Flooring and carpet layers.
While face masks, protective clothing, and the proper decontamination procedures can mitigate or even prevent asbestos exposure, it is not uncommon for asbestos fibers to:
- Still be inhaled
- Remain workers’ clothing after they leave the work environment, potentially resulting in secondary asbestos exposure to family members.
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With more than two decades of experience representing clients in mesothelioma claims, our attorneys have the knowledge and insight you can rely on for effective advocacy and the best possible outcomes.
In mesothelioma cases, we represent patients and families from across the U.S.