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Although the use of asbestos in new construction and most new products was banned in this country the 1980s, it had been in widespread use since the late 1800s and can still be found in older buildings, older products, and new products manufactured in other countries. Symptoms of asbestos-related illness can take 10 to 50 years to surface, making it difficult to track down the source. However, there are some causes that we see most frequently.
Certain jobs, industries, and work environments carry an elevated risk of asbestos exposure, including:
- Oil refineries
- Steel mills
- Power plants
- Automotive manufacturing and repair
- Appliance manufacturing
- Asbestos removal
Asbestos Exposure Can Happen to Anyone
Workers in certain industries are more likely to come into contact with asbestos, but you can also be exposed at school or at home, especially if you had a relative who worked in one of these industries.
Over 100,000 people were exposed to dangerous levels of asbestos immediately after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. First responders have been hit hard with respiratory problems, including volunteers from the Orlando area.
Products Containing Asbestos
Asbestos is heat- and fire-resistant and very versatile. Thousands of products contain asbestos including:
- Construction materials (flooring, roofing, insulation, carpeting, wiring, ducts, etc)
- Small appliances
- Gaskets and brake pads in cars
- Oven mitts
- Potting soil
Symptoms of Asbestos Exposure
After asbestos exposure tends to have more chronic than acute effects. According to the National Cancer Institute, symptoms of asbestos-related illnesses include:
- Shortness of breath
- A cough or a change in cough pattern
- Blood in the fluid coughed up from the lungs
- Pain in the chest or abdomen
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Prolonged hoarseness
- Significant weight loss
Asbestos exposure causes many health problems, including:
- Kidney cancer
- Larynx cancer
- Lung cancer
- Other cancers
Asbestosis is scarring of the lungs by asbestos fibers. The scar tissue reduces lung capacity because it does not expand contract. Asbestosis can lead to heart failure.
Mesothelioma is cancer caused by asbestos exposure. It is not the same as lung cancer. Life expectancy after mesothelioma diagnosis is typically less than two years.
If you believe that you or a loved one has suffered an illness due to asbestos exposure, please contact an experienced Florida toxic tort attorney at Colling Gilbert Wright & Carter by calling (407) 712-7300 or completing our online form.