Is Asbestos Dangerous? What If You Have an Asbestos-Related Injury?

Asbestos is a group of six minerals composed of tender, flexible and heat-resistant fibersIt has been used widely for various purposes all over the world. It is mainly used in construction. However, many people may not be aware of the substance’s potential to lead to severe effects on the human body, causing injuries and illness in some cases.  

Inhaling particles of the substance can cause microscopic asbestos fibers to become lodged in the lungs, resulting in various degrees of injury to the lung tissue. Lung diseases that are caused by exposure to asbestos can be grouped into three categories: asbestosis, injuries to the lung lining or pleura, and lung cancer. 

More specifically, some of the most common forms of asbestos injuries include asbestosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pleural thickening, and atelectasis. As a result of these illnesses and injuries, people who have experienced exposure to asbestos can face disabling conditions when the damage is extensive. 

The people who experience debilitating conditions relating to asbestos may be able to qualify for disability benefits if they file a strong claim, supported with comprehensive documentation. Contact a disability attorney to discuss your difficulties and learn more about the services they can provide. Your lawyer can work tirelessly on your behalf to pursue the benefits that you deserve for your condition.

Asbestos-Related Cancers (Malignancies)

Although any quantity of exposure to asbestos can lead to the occurrence of related cancers, those who have inhaled or have had substantial exposure to asbestos materials over long periods of time are generally at the highest significant risk of developing asbestos-related malignancies. 

There is a risk of developing related lung cancer, which varies depending on the type of fiber inhaled and the extent of the damage. Studies of patients exposed to chrysotile fibers have indicated that the risk of asbestos-related cancers is only moderately increased. Exposure to amphibole fibers or both of these types of fibers doubles the likelihood that a person would develop asbestos-related lung cancer. 

  • Mesothelioma

Disability Benefits For Asbestos

Despite decades of stringent asbestos laws across the country, more than 40,000 people died of mesothelioma in the United States between the years of 1999 and 2015, according to a report released in 2017. Even today, exposure to asbestos is still the leading cause of work-related deaths worldwide.

Each year, about 3,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with mesothelioma, often with an extremely grim prognosis. Most people who are diagnosed with mesothelioma live for less than a year after diagnosis.

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that develops in the membranes of the cavities of the body. Tumors can develop on the lining of the lungs, stomach, heart, or testes. Pleural mesothelioma, peritoneal mesothelioma, pericardial mesothelioma, and testicular mesothelioma are the four types of mesotheliomas. Although each variety of mesothelioma has its own set of symptoms, chest or stomach pain and shortness of breath are common.

  • Lung Cancer

While asbestos exposure is responsible for a relatively small percentage of all lung cancer diagnoses, lung cancer is one of the deadliest types of cancer. Smokers who have been exposed to asbestos have a much higher risk of developing small-cell or non-small-cell lung cancer than smokers who have not been exposed. The disability for cancer patients can be granted if they and their doctors can provide valid documentation to prove that the cancer is the reason for their disabling condition.

  • Ovarian Cancer

In 2009, researchers found evidence of a relationship between exposure to asbestos and the incidence of ovarian cancer. The asbestos fibers, which have been detected in the ovaries of asbestos-exposed women on several occasions, could enter the circulatory system, lymph system, or reproductive tract and damage the organs.

Other Asbestos-Related Diseases

  • Asbestosis

Asbestosis is a lung injury induced by the inhalation of asbestos fibers. While this is not cancer, it is a potentially fatal lung condition marked by scarring and inflammation of the lungs. Shortness of breath and chest tightness are common signs of asbestosis, which typically hinders the lungs from expanding and contracting properly.

Because asbestosis is a lung disease that affects the interstitial spaces between the lungs, it is considered to be an interstitial lung disease (ILD). Exposure to silica dust, coal dust, cotton dust, and hard metal specks of dust — as well as diseases including lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, sarcoidosis, and other connective tissue and blood disorders — are all factors that may contribute to the development of ILD.

Asbestosis is a dangerous disease. From 2000 to 2007, the condition contributed to causing the deaths of approximately 1,400 people in the United States. Exposure to asbestos is especially common in various types of construction activities, including carpentry, pipefitting, and painting, according to a study published in 2018. 

If your healthcare professional says that your disabling conditions may be a result of exposure to asbestos, you may have a legal claim. Even if you do not succeed on the initial claim, you can engage in the appeal process with help of a legal professional. Your lawyer can explain all of the steps involved and stand by your side throughout the legal procedures.

  • Pleural Effusions 

Pleural effusions are a collection of fluid between the pleural membrane’s layers. Fluid can gather in the chest cavity between the ribs and the lungs, causing lung compression and shortness of breath. Effusions can occur without other diseases, but they frequently indicate late-stage mesothelioma or non-mesothelioma tumors.

Pleural effusions do not pose a life-threatening concern on their own. However, they may cause extreme pain and make breathing difficult over time. Even if the fluid is drained, it will most likely return unless a medical professional performs a pleurodesis treatment. The pleural membranes cling together during pleurodesis, causing the lung to attach to the chest wall and preventing a place for fluids to collect.

Still, some commercial manufacturers assert that chrysotile fibers are safe. People often know very little about the long-term effects of asbestos products because of the long delay between exposure and developing a disease related to asbestos exposure. Despite the potential health risks, the durability and the low cost of these products had made them popular among consumers for many years. Even after its exposure is significantly reduced, asbestosis remains a significant problem. 

You should not hesitate to consult an experienced San Antonio Social Security disability attorney to discuss your concerns if you are suffering the effects of asbestos exposure. Choose a legal professional who has handled similar disability claims and has secured substantial benefits for their clients. Our experienced team can provide comprehensive support as you pursue your disability claim.