Asbestos is a chemically harmless substance, but when it is inhaled or ingested, it can wreak havoc on the body.
Mesothelioma is a serious type of cancer caused by asbestos exposure. It typically affects the outer lining of the lungs, but can affect other areas of the body, as well. For many people diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos exposure occurred several decades ago in a workplace setting.
We know that asbestos exposure causes mesothelioma. But how much do we know about asbestos as a substance?
According to the American Cancer Society, there are two types of asbestos:
- Chrysolite asbestos is widely used in industrial settings. Chrysolite asbestos fibers are spiral-shaped.
- Amphibole asbestos fibers are needle-shaped. There are many types of amphibole asbestos.
Exposure to either type of asbestos can cause mesothelioma.
Since it is so dangerous to the human body, why is asbestos used?
Asbestos is popular for its heat and fire-resistant properties. It is cheap and durable. It was widely used in insulation, shipbuilding, automotive parts, roofing, construction, and other applications.
The dangers of asbestos were not fully realized by the public until the 1970s because asbestos companies spent decades hiding the science showing how harmful asbestos is and fighting against compensating workers for asbestos-related disease. Even today, asbestos is still used in many industries.
Mesothelioma has a long latency period, meaning several decades may pass between when asbestos exposure occurred and when someone is diagnosed with mesothelioma.
Even so, when someone is diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is usually possible to pinpoint where and when the asbestos exposure occurred with help from a mesothelioma attorney. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed, you can learn about your specific options by talking to an attorney from our law firm.