Many people are diagnosed with mesothelioma, cancers and other diseases resulting from asbestos exposure. It is common that the original exposure happened even decades ago.

Well before the turn of the 20th century, two of our closest neighbors – Gary and Chicago – were among the top manufacturing centers in the nation. The steel plants and other factories supported the region economically and provided jobs for thousands.

However, many of these factories and manufacturing plants were well-known to have used products that contained asbestos, a cause of mesothelioma, cancers, asbestosis, and other diseases.

This issue is not unique to our region.

Three decades ago, tough restrictions were imposed against the use of asbestos, but the damage was already done. Since it can take more than 20 years for asbestos exposure to develop into these potentially deadly diseases, we are now seeing up to 3,000 new cases of mesothelioma and related diseases being diagnosed each year.

Sadly, many of these companies and manufacturers, including a number of them right here in the region, were aware of these dangers. Even members of our military have suffered from exposure.

It is also true when buildings and homes are demolished, asbestos can fill the air. It happens as the materials that contain it are destroyed. Home maintenance and repairs may also release the toxic fibers. You have less to worry about if you’re around asbestos products that haven’t been damaged in any way.

The U.S. government has controlled the use of asbestos since the 1970s. It’s not mined or processed in this country anymore. But it’s still used in items like vinyl floor tiles, cement pipes, clothes, and brake pads. The EPA has banned it in paper, flooring felt, fake fireplace embers and other products.

On Sept. 11, 2001, when the World Trade Center was destroyed, hundreds of tons of asbestos got into the air. Rescue workers, nearby residents, and those who helped with cleanup efforts may have inhaled it. We are just now realizing some of the health issues these people are suffering. However, the long-term effects of this exposure won’t be fully known for years.

Smokers are even more affected. That’s because cigarette smoke irritates lung passages. This makes it harder for the lungs to remove asbestos fibers.

The lawyers at Tauber Law Offices have taken on many cases of victims who have become ill or have died as a result of asbestos exposure. If you or a loved one has been affected, we’d like to hear your story. We can determine if your case is one that could qualify for damages from companies and others who have been negligent in their use of such materials. Call Tauber Law Offices for a free consultation.

Sources: WebMD. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor