Asbestos. Mesothelioma. Two terms commonly thrown around in the media, on the news, and even on the internet. But what exactly do they mean, how much of a threat are they to your health, and what can you do about it?
Asbestos are naturally occurring minerals that when inhaled can be very dangerous. These miniscule minerals, commonly referred to as fibers, build up scar-like tissue in the lungs and impede them from healthy functioning. Common sources of asbestos include disturbed or damaged insulation, dry wall, cement, roof shingles, and even floor tiles. Anyone who has come into contact with they materials in their lives may be at risk of coming into contact with asbestos.
Mesothelioma on the other hand is a form of cancer that affects the lining of the body’s internal organs. This lining is referred to as mesothelium. Symptoms of mesothelioma include chest pains, shortness of breath, wheezing, and fatigue. Cancer.gov reports that although mesothelioma is rare, rates have been on the rise over the past few decades.
Just as recently as 2008, TransWorldNews reported that New Orleans parish was in the process of using a special technique to demolish asbestos-laden buildings still left over from Hurricane Katrina. Destruction was monitored by the EPA and is necessary to make sure that citizens of Orleans Parish are safe, especially given that local residents are still battling the disease.
For example, just several months ago, NOLA.com reported that William Simmons, founder of a local chrome-plating business, died of mesothelioma. The source of his exposure was not reported. Although Asbestos.net reports that it takes years for mesothelioma to manifest, safely getting rid of old New Orleans properties that have for example, asbestos laden pipe, is a step in the right direction to eradicating potential present and future exposure that could lead to problems down the road. However, it does not remedy all of the hundreds of thousands of people that may have come into contact with asbestos in their life times.
Asbestos.net reported as of a few weeks ago that at least one mesothelioma case is ongoing in Orleans parish. The case, involving an allegation of second-hand exposure to asbestos at the Avondale Shipyard, was recently delayed due to (of all things!) the New Orleans Saints making the Super Bowl. Whether the judge made the correct decision in delaying an important personal injury case for a football game is a matter for a different blogging day.
Clearly, asbestos and mesothelioma are ongoing issues in New Orleans. Mesothelioma needs to be diagnosed quickly for treatment to be effective. Mesothelioma develops late and can often be mistaken for other diseases and illnesses. Anyone who has been exposed working around asbestos throughout their lives may be at risk for ultimately developing this condition. Keeping an eye on the symptoms and getting proper medical attention can help to diagnose this condition. If you or anyone you know has been exposed to asbestos in their lives, it is important to consult an experienced asbestos attorney who can fight for the compensation that they deserve.