When shipbuilders discovered a material that was lightweight, flexible, cheap, and resistant to flame and heat, they may have thought it was a miracle. For more than 40 years, they made use of this material in every possible way, including floors, walls, insulation and fireproofing. If you worked in the shipyards of Texas, Louisiana or Mississippi during this time, the protective gear you wore was likely made of this material.
If you haven’t guessed by now, the material was asbestos. This miraculous, versatile material also turned out cause several incurable lung ailments, including mesothelioma. Despite certain restrictions the government has placed on the uses of mesothelioma, many who work in shipyards may still face exposure to its deadly fibers. You may already be dealing with symptoms of mesothelioma from your years in the shipyard.
These days, if you take the right precautions, you may avoid exposure to asbestos even if you work around materials that contain the substance. Your employer should provide you with proper safeguards as well as training for working around this dangerous substance. Above all, wherever possible, your employer should choose alternatives to asbestos products to eliminate the danger altogether. However, certain jobs may still create a greater risk of danger than others, for example:
- Repairing areas of a ship made with asbestos
- Electrical work
- Transporting materials made from asbestos
- Working around boilers
- Working around old asbestos materials that have begun to degrade
- Replacing old asbestos materials with newer products
When microscopic asbestos fibers become airborne, you may inhale or ingest them. These fibers lodge in your lung tissue or abdominal cavity, where they irritate and inflame until cancer cells begin to form. Mesothelioma grows slowly, and it may be decades before you begin to feel symptoms like a chronic cough, shortness of breath, pain or fever.
What happens now?
A diagnosis of mesothelioma or other asbestos-related disease can be devastating news for you and your family. There is no cure, and your future may be uncertain. While money will not turn back the clock so you can avoid the exposure that caused your illness, you can make use of fair compensation for your medical bills and other expenses you and your family will be dealing with.
On the other hand, you may have already lost a loved one to an asbestos-related disease. It is not too late to seek justice for your family member. Your first step is to meet with an experienced attorney who will investigate your situation and fight to help you meet your goals.