West Virginia asbestos exposure lawyers with integrity and experience

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a mineral mined out of the ground and then combined with other products because it is heat-resistant and strong. It was used in insulation, fire protective clothing, gaskets, cements, brakes, floor tiles, joint compounds, and many other products. Products contain asbestos were widely used in a large number of industries from the early 1900s through the mid-1970s, when Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations began limiting the use of asbestos.

Asbestos was used by chemical, glass, and steel industries, as well as in shipyards, power plants, and railroads. Workers from these trades and others, such as pipefitters, boilermakers, electricians, and carpenters, were often working with materials containing asbestos without knowing it. The sawing, chopping and dropping of such materials during maintenance or construction created clouds of dust that workers describe in court as “snowstorms”. While some may have used a hanky or some other temporary measure to avoid inhaling the asbestos dust cloud, little was done by workers who knew it as no more than a nuisance. Many even took the contaminated clothes home, repeating the exposures to themselves and tragically their families.

The companies that produced asbestos-containing products provided no warnings on the dangers of asbestos for decades, despite evidence that they knew of health risks associated with asbestos as early as the 1930s.

How can asbestos affect my health?

Inhaling asbestos dust can cause scarring of the lungs and several diseases including asbestosis, lung cancer, a rare form of cancer called mesothelioma, and other forms of cancer. These diseases often do not appear until many years after exposure, often decades.

Asbestos-related symptoms can include shortness of breath, a cough or change in cough pattern, coughing up blood, chest or abdominal pain, difficulty swallowing, prolonged hoarseness, and/or weight loss.

What should I do if exposed to asbestos?

Persons who believe they have been exposed to asbestos dust should tell their doctor about their exposure history and of any health problems they are experiencing. A physical examination including a chest x-ray and a breathing test may be recommended.

If you believe you have an asbestos-related disease or know of a family member or friend who has died from an asbestos-related disease such as lung cancer or mesothelioma, call the West Virginia mesothelioma attorneys at Harvit & Schwartz at (304) 343-4100, or email us for a free consultation.

Read our article on asbestos exposure here.