Asbestos exposure has impacted the lives of thousands of Americans. Throughout the twentieth century, workers in a variety of industries and occupations were unknowingly exposed to harmful asbestos fibers. When released into the air and inhaled, asbestos can easily become lodged in the lining of the lungs and cause a major health threat. Over time, exposure to these toxic fibers can lead to dangerous and life-threatening health problems, including mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.
As early as the 1930s, companies were well informed of the connection between serious respiratory diseases and asbestos exposure. Because of its efficiency and cost effectiveness, asbestos was still utilized despite serious warnings. Not only did many corporations continue using, mining and manufacturing asbestos, they also failed to supply their workers with proper warnings or protective gear.
For decades, workers succumbed to asbestos exposure at their jobs on a daily basis. From New York and New Jersey to Missouri and California, workers across the country unknowingly put themselves at risk for fatal lung diseases. Because of the long latency period associated with mesothelioma, individuals are still diagnosed with the disease. According to the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, approximately 3,000 Americans are diagnosed with mesothelioma every year.
An Example: Asbestos Worksites
Men and women working in industries such as construction, shipbuilding, mining, heating and cooling equipment repair, automotive repair, roofing, and manufacturing of asbestos products were impacted most heavily by asbestos exposure – often on a daily basis for years.
Some work sites in the state of Missouri that have been linked to asbestos exposure include:
Today, corporations are obligated to provide on-the-job protections like properly ventilated workspaces, protective clothing and equipment, and training for employees working with asbestos.
Asbestos has not yet been banned in the United States. Products that are legally permitted to contain asbestos today (following regulations) include: automotive brakes and brake pads, automotive clutch linings and roof shingles.
Asbestos also lingers in many old structures and neglected industrial areas. One Missouri worksite, the Weldon Spring Quarry in St. Charles County, was cited by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for asbestos contamination in its Superfund program for hazardous waste cleanup. The worksite includes 230 acres of land that first became contaminated from an improper cleanup in 1987. Among more than 100 varieties of contaminated material found on the property were asbestos debris, TNT and uranium.
Asbestos Exposure and Experienced Mesothelioma Lawyers
If you or a loved one has mesothelioma and worked in Missouri or anywhere in the United States, an experienced mesothelioma lawyer can help you understand your legal rights.
Learn more about working with a mesothelioma lawyer by exploring more of Nolo's articles on the subject. From there, feel free to use Nolo's Lawyer Directory to find a mesothelioma lawyer who is right for you and your family.