Despite the public perception that asbestos and mesothelioma-related deaths in the U.S. have been decreasing over the past few years, the reality is that asbestos-related exposure, especially among construction workers in the U.S, and the eventual onset of mesothelioma remain significant and substantive public health issues in the U.S.
Mesothelioma is a rare and fatal cancer that strikes the mesothelium, a thin membrane lining the lungs, heart, chest cavity, gastrointestinal system, and reproductive organs. Mesothelioma is primarily caused by exposure to asbestos. Asbestosis is caused by inhaled asbestos fibers that lodge deep in the lungs, scarring the organs or triggering the growth of excess tissue, a condition known as fibrosis. Asbestosis makes breathing excruciatingly painful and often leads to death from lung or heart failure; the victim essentially suffocates. There is no known cure for either of these conditions. Lung cancer can be caused by inhalation of asbestos fibers.
According to a recent study, asbestos still kills approximately 12,000-15,000 individuals in the U.S. every year. In fact, the same study cites information from the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC), which estimates that the number of individuals actually exposed to asbestos is 189,000 to 221,000 people from 1999 to 2013. The CDC also believes that such statistics are likely underreported, where health care providers often misclassify such exposure or individuals suffering from such exposure fail to report same.
Given the well known medical and scientific literature available regarding the significant health risks associated with both asbestos and mesothelioma, there are still many industries including factories, plants, and other employers that are failing to take adequate precautions to minimize the risk and otherwise protect their employees from being exposed to asbestos. In fact, for the past decade, West Virginia has ranked one of the top five states where asbestos-related employment and personal injury claims have been filed. Given West Virginia’s significant number of coal, processing, railroads, refineries, steel mills, and other industries, workers in West Virginia are more at risk from asbestos-related exposure than workers in others states. As a result, the state of West Virginia has been making a concerted effort to hold employers liable for failing to take adequate safety measures to protect their workers. Despite this, a number of employers still place profits over the health and well-being of their workers and insist on not protecting them from asbestos-related exposure.
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If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with or are suffering from asbestos or mesothelioma-related health issues, you need attorneys with experience in such personal injury matters. Colombo Law can fully evaluate your claims involving such very serious and adverse health conditions and provide you the legal representation you require.