Asbestos Exposure Symptoms - Featured Image
May 28, 2021
by Jamie Foster

Asbestos Exposure Symptoms

What You Should Know

Once a common building material, asbestos is now known to be the primary culprit in many serious diseases, including mesothelioma, a type of cancer that attacks the lining of the lungs. While asbestos is now highly regulated in the US, that wasn’t always the case. Millions of people have been exposed to asbestos, and mesothelioma has a long latency period, meaning that it may be years before they discover they’ve been affected. In today's post, we will discuss this widely used material, and what you should do if you suspect you or someone you love has asbestos exposure symptoms.

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a group of naturally-occurring mineral fibers that are resistant to heat and corrosion. For that reason, it was often used as pipe insulation, in ceiling and floor tiles and other building materials. Workers in the construction and ship-building industries were often at risk for heavy exposure, particularly during renovations or repairs that required the removal of asbestos. The material has long been recognized as a health hazard and is currently banned in 52 countries, but around the world, more than 2 million tons is still produced annually, and it remains in many older buildings in the US.
workers removing asbestos roofing are at risk for asbestos exposure symptoms

Asbestos Exposure in Louisiana

In Louisiana, one of the largest sources of jobs and revenue was once also one of the riskiest for asbestos exposure. The material was often used to insulate tanks and pipelines for the oil and gas industries. Many workers in those fields may have been exposed and are at risk for mesothelioma.

Shipyard and port workers were often exposed due to the use of asbestos in ship building materials, and miners working in salt mines may have been exposed as asbestos was used to prevent fires.

There are many less obvious sources of exposure as well, particularly in New Orleans. First responders and those who helped with cleanup during Hurricane Katrina, for example, may have handled asbestos in the wreckage of buildings destroyed by the storm. 

According to an article in asbestos.com, several W.R. Grace facilities in the area used vermiculite containing asbestos to make attic insulation, masonry insulation, concrete aggregate, horticultural soil conditioner and Monokote, a popular spray-applied fireproofing that contained 10 percent to 19 percent chrysotile asbestos. Their manufacturing process released asbestos, affecting the neighborhoods and businesses around the plant. Though the primary plant closed in 1998, small traces of asbestos were detected through testing as recently as 2014. Jefferson Parish, where the former W. R. Grace vermiculite facility is located, is ranked 19th among all U.S. counties for mesothelioma deaths.

Symptoms of Asbestos Exposure

No level of asbestos exposure is safe, but more serious problems usually occur with repeated exposure. The fibers in asbestos are too small to be seen and, when inhaled, often become trapped in the respiratory system. This can lead to scarring of the lungs, known as asbestosis, and has been proven to be a cause of mesothelioma and other diseases.

If you have been exposed to asbestos, you should notify your doctor so you can be monitored for signs that you’ve been affected. These may include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Swelling
  • Unexplained weight loss

Do You or Someone You Know have Asbestos Exposure Symptoms?

If you are experiencing health issues similar to the asbestos exposure symptoms above, and/or you worked in ship-building or other industrial sites in Louisiana, contact the Falcon Law Firm at 504-341-1234. Our attorneys will fight for your rights and seek the compensation you and your family deserve. You may also contact us online or visit us at our office located at 5044 Lapalco Blvd., Marrero, LA.

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