Asbestos is a natural mineral and extremely strong, fire-resistant material that was commonly used in construction work–particularly in plumbing and flooring materials–prior to the 1980s. While its toxicity has been widely scrutinized in recent years, many people remain unaware of its hazardous properties. Asbestos in its complete form is not dangerous, but when its fibers are broken and inhaled, they can attach themselves to a person’s lungs and cause a number of damaging complications.
Asbestos exposure can lead to long term suffering and, in some cases, death. Those who were wrongfully exposed might qualify for financial compensation. If you or someone you know has been exposed to asbestos and is now suffering from an asbestos-related condition, contact an experienced Houston asbestos attorney of Williams Hart today.
The Six Types of Asbestos
Most people have heard of asbestos, but don’t know that there are actually six different types of this dangerous mineral. Exposure to any of the six types of asbestos can be dangerous and may lead to asbestos-related diseases or cancers. However, some types of asbestos were more commonly used than others, making exposure to them more likely.
The six different types of asbestos have very similar effects for those people who are exposed to them. However, they are distinguishable by sight and texture. The six different types of asbestos include:
- Anthophyllite – rarest form, less durable, and less used than other forms
- Crocidolite – blue in color, very sharp, very fine fibers, and easy to inhale
- Actinolite – often white or green in color, with typically long, thin fibers
- Chrysotile – curled fibers that make them harder to inhale
- Tremolite – color ranges from white to a deep green
- Amosite – gray or brown in color and often straight
All six types of asbestos are very dangerous if their fibers are broken and inhaled and can cause serious conditions, such as asbestosis, lung scarring, and mesothelioma. However, if a person was wrongfully exposed to asbestos, financial compensation might be available to them.
Exposure to Asbestos
Asbestos exposure can happen in many different environments. An unfortunate aspect of most cases of asbestos exposure is that many people were unaware that they were already developing asbestos-related conditions, and therefore didn’t seek early treatment, because the symptoms of exposure often do not appear until years (sometimes decades) after exposure initially occurred. Because of this delay, by the time many asbestos-related conditions are diagnosed, there is little that can be done to treat them.
Where You Might Have Been Exposed to Asbestos
Because asbestos was used in a huge variety of products, people were exposed to it in a number of different environments. Some of the most common occupations that dealt with asbestos on a regular basis include:
- Construction Workers
- Contract Workers
- Factory Employees
- Military Personnel
- Railroad Workers
In addition to direct exposure occurring through these occupations, indirect exposure has also caused a number of asbestos-related cases to appear. Some of the more common incidents of indirect exposure involve family members of those who were directly exposed to asbestos inhaling broken fibers that were carried home on their loved one. Whatever way you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos, if it was due to someone else’s negligence, it’s important to seek medical treatment and legal advice as soon as you can.
Effects of Asbestos Exposure
Asbestos can lead to several dangerous and uncomfortable physical conditions that can be extremely painful, costly to treat, and in some cases, fatal. Four of the most common effects of asbestos exposure include:
- Lung Scarring
- Lung Cancer
These four conditions can be extremely difficult to live with, and most of them require extensive medical treatment, which is often both lengthy and expensive. Patients who were wrongfully exposed to asbestos and face mounting medical costs related to their exposure might qualify for compensation through a lawsuit.
The asbestos attorneys of Williams Hart are available to help you gather more facts about asbestos exposure and asbestos-related diseases. The more information you have about this dangerous substance and the consequences of exposure, the easier it will be for you to build a case against those responsible for your asbestos exposure. Contact our offices to speak to a lawyer today.