Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, heart, and stomach. While rare, it can lead to serious, life-long health complications or death.
Long-term exposure to asbestos is the leading cause of mesothelioma. Asbestos is a mineral present in many building materials, like insulation, fireproofing, piping, wiring, flooring, and shingles. Workers who handle asbestos are at risk of inhaling the dust or small fibers emitted from building materials. Mesothelioma can develop within 20 to 60 years after exposure.
The symptoms include:
- Difficulties with breathing and/or swallowing
- Chest pain
- Spinal cord and nerve pain
- Fluid accumulation in the chest and lungs
- Unexplained weight loss
- Abdominal pain and swelling
Asbestos was used by many companies up until the 1980s, but that doesn't mean it was banned in the United States. While it's no longer mined in the U.S., it's still imported and used in many building materials and products.
Those most at risk of having mesothelioma
According to Occupational Health & Safety, there are some occupations where workers have the greatest risk of developing mesothelioma. In New York, these include:
- Railroad workers: Railroad equipment and locomotive parts often contain asbestos. OSHA imposed a limit on products composed of asbestos. The railroad industry continued to use it and kept it hidden from workers.
- Shipbuilders: Asbestos is a component on large commercial and naval vessels due to its durability, as well as its insulating and fire-retardant properties. Pipes, wires, caulking, and sealants may also contain asbestos.
- Factory workers: Some factory workers regularly handle products and materials containing asbestos. Particles can spread through the area during machine maintenance and get inhaled into workers' lungs.
- Construction workers: Those who work with drywall, shingles, spackling, tiles, and concrete may be at risk of asbestos exposure. Many older buildings still have a dangerously high presence of asbestos. Exposure is likely during reconstruction and demolition.
Can I obtain workers' compensation benefits if I developed mesothelioma?
It's critical that you report it to your employer and seek medical treatment if you have noticed any symptoms of mesothelioma. Workers' compensation covers medical expenses and wage loss associated with this disease.
The attorneys at Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano, LLP are seeing more cases of mesothelioma each year. Workers exposed to asbestos decades ago may now begin to show symptoms. If you have developed occupational mesothelioma, our legal team can help you get the medical care and benefits you need. We serve clients in NYC and across New York State.
Contact us online to find out how we can help you.