Mesothelioma is a rare but aggressive form of cancer that is caused by asbestos exposure. If you live in Ohio, Indiana or Kentucky and you or a loved one was diagnosed with mesothelioma, the Cincinnati attorneys at Young, Reverman & Mazzei may be able to help you recover the financial security you need to cope with medical expenses and other damages. Please call us today at 513-854-8885 or contact us online. We offer free consultations to help you understand your options, and we don’t charge for our services unless we secure compensation on your behalf.
How Asbestos Exposure Causes Mesothelioma
Asbestos was widely used in the United States throughout much of the 20th century, and it was prized for its insulative properties, fire resistance, and low cost. The peak of asbestos use was from the 1930s through the 1970s, when it was employed in various construction, automotive and aircraft materials. Asbestos poses a health risk when objects that contain asbestos are broken apart and its tiny fibers become airborne. When these fibers are inhaled or ingested, they can become lodged in the mesothelium, a layer of tissue that surrounds most internal organs.
Over time, these asbestos fibers trigger genetic changes and uncontrolled cell growth that leads to the group of cancers collectively referred to as mesothelioma. Asbestos exposure may also contribute to lung cancer and a chronic lung disease known as asbestosis. Mesothelioma and other diseases linked to asbestos have long latency periods. Most mesothelioma victims don’t exhibit symptoms until the disease is in its late stages, which could be many years after the asbestos exposure that caused it occurred.
Types of Mesothelioma
There are four main types of mesothelioma, which are based on the location of cancer in the body.
This type of mesothelioma originates in the pleura, which are layers of protective mesothelium that covers the lungs. Pleural mesothelioma is believed to comprise upward of 75 percent of all mesothelioma cases. As pleural mesothelioma tumors form, fluid builds up between the layers of pleura; this puts undue pressure on the lungs and eventually leads to chest pain, impaired breathing and other symptoms.
This is the second-most-common type of mesothelioma and is responsible for nearly 20 percent of all reported cases. This type of mesothelioma forms in the peritoneum, a thin membranous tissue that lines the abdominal cavity. As peritoneal mesothelioma develops, the resulting tumors place pressure on internal organs and may cause significant abdominal pain.
Accounts for only around 1 percent of all mesothelioma cases. Pericardial mesothelioma develops in the pericardium, the two-layered mesothelium tissue that covers the heart. Pericardial mesothelioma seems to affect men more than women, although because this form of mesothelioma is so rare, it has not been studied as extensively as pleural mesothelioma and peritoneal mesothelioma.
Testicular mesothelioma is also very rare and accounts for less than 1 percent of all mesothelioma cases. Testicular mesothelioma forms in the tunica vaginalis, which is the mesothelium-lined pouch that holds the testes.
Second-Hand Asbestos Exposure
Although most mesothelioma cases arise from first-hand workplace contact, the disease can also be contracted through second-hand exposure.
Second-hand exposure occurs when someone with direct exposure to asbestos fibers carries the microscopic fibers home on their bodies and clothing, which then transfers to others through contact with their clothes or other objects. Second-hand asbestos exposure is often seen in the spouses and children of those who worked with asbestos or asbestos-containing products and unknowingly brought the hazardous fibers home on their work clothes.
Occupations with a High Risk for Asbestos Exposure
Asbestos use was widespread in construction, the military, manufacturing, and other industries for most of the 20th century. Occupations that faced an especially high risk for asbestos exposure include:
Many aircrafts built prior to the 1980s included asbestos-based materials used as insulation and flame retardants.
Asbestos-containing products were also used heavily in-vehicle components, including brake pads and gaskets.
Asbestos was widely used in boilers and boiler rooms as an insulator and fire retardant.
Asbestos products in various aspects of construction and carpentry, including roofing shingles, plaster, joint compounds, and insulation.
Asbestos-based materials were used in a number of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning products thanks to their fire-resistant and insulation properties.
Asbestos was employed in many materials that millwrights came in contact with, including pipe coverings, insulation, valves, boilers, and gaskets.
Oil rig and oil refinery workers
From boilers to heat exchangers to piping insulation, asbestos-containing materials were used in various capacities at oil drilling sites and oil refineries.
Power plant and utility workers
Asbestos-based materials were commonly used throughout power plants to provide insulation and protect against fire hazards.
Shipyard workers and seaman
For decades, asbestos was widely used in shipbuilding and maintenance. Materials with asbestos could be found in shipyards as well as the vessels themselves, where asbestos insulation covered boilers, pipes, turbines and even lined sleeping quarters and mess halls.
This is only a partial list of occupations that may have been impacted by asbestos exposure. If you were diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer and believe you were exposed to asbestos at some point in the past, it’s advisable to discuss your situation with an attorney as soon as possible.
Asbestos Exposure in Ohio
Because Ohio has long been home to a number of oil refineries, steel mills and power plants, asbestos exposure has contributed to many mesothelioma cases. Shipyards have historically relied heavily on asbestos to build ships for cargo and Navy purposes, and Ohio was home to the American Shipbuilding Company for over two decades. Asbestos was used for construction materials such as gaskets and insulation, exposing many employees in the process.
Asbestos Exposure in Indiana
Most of the mesothelioma cases reported in Indiana originated within the steel industry, where workers at steel plants such as Gary Steel Works and Bethlehem Steel were repeatedly exposed to inhalation of dangerous asbestos fibers. The impact of power plants in relation to the exposure of asbestos is significant, as a vast amount of power was needed to run steel mills throughout the state. The Indiana State Department was taken to court as recently as 2016 for undisclosed emails relating to asbestos-contaminated debris that had become airborne within the community.
Asbestos Exposure in Kentucky
Kentucky is known for its coal and metal production, with sheet metal workers and miners often working in conditions with a high risk of exposure to asbestos. Although there are no natural deposits of asbestos within the state, Kentucky’s use of products such as “blue asbestos” has contributed to many cases of mesothelioma through direct and second-hand exposure in chemical plants such as the Cissell Manufacturing Company. Kentucky is also home to Fort Knox and Fort Campbell, both of which used asbestos during their construction, which exposed veterans to the damaging particles over time.
Contact a Knowledgeable Asbestos Exposure Attorney
Although there is no known cure for mesothelioma, there are treatment options that can extend lifespan and improve quality of life. Unfortunately, these treatments are incredibly costly. Help is available for mesothelioma victims and their families through trust funds that have been established to help cover medical costs and other expenses associated with mesothelioma. The injury attorneys at Young, Reverman, & Mazzei understand the physical, emotional and financial challenges associated with mesothelioma, and we’re dedicated to helping asbestos exposure victims and their families recover the compensation they need.
If you or a loved one was diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, please call us today at 513-854-8885 to schedule your free consultation or contact us online to tell us your story now. In Ohio, we serve clients from the greater Cincinnati and Dayton areas. We also welcome clients from Dearborn County in Indiana and Campbell County, Boone County, and Kenton County in Kentucky.