Not that long ago, multiple industries used asbestos to manufacture a broad range of products. Many of them provided little training or safety equipment for their workers, resulting in people inhaling particulate asbestos because of their work.
However, as medical evidence about the dangers of asbestos became more readily available, this mineral substance fell out of favor in many industries. The investments necessary to make asbestos handling safe for workers may be prohibitive, to say nothing of the long-term liability companies have if they expose their workers to this known carcinogen.
Although far fewer people now have to handle asbestos than in the past, tens of thousands of workers have already suffered dangerous levels of exposure. Additionally, even their family members might be at risk. Anyone with firsthand or secondhand asbestos exposure will need to remain vigilant for warning signs of illness for the rest of their lives.
No amount of asbestos exposure is safe
Not everyone exposed to asbestos falls ill as a result. Some people can encounter asbestos frequently and inhale small amounts occasionally with no negative consequences. However, there are other people who will develop cancer after even intermittent exposure to asbestos.
Workers who did not have proper safety and decontamination equipment when working with asbestos could be at risk for developing illnesses decades later. Mesothelioma might not show symptoms until long after someone retires. Workers may also develop lung cancer or asbestosis.
Family members of those who work with asbestos are also at risk. Secondary exposure because a worker brought home asbestos particulate on their clothing or body could lead to their loved ones getting sick later in life.
Asbestos claims are often complex
Making a claim for compensation related to workplace asbestos exposure can take some time. A worker may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits in some cases, but they may have long since left the job that exposed them.
Proving complex medical cases in court may be difficult. Even if the employer already has an asbestos bankruptcy trust established, the process of making a claim could take months and require legal assistance. Connecting your illness with your employment or a loved one’s former job could be the first step towards seeking compensation for an asbestos-related illness.