Illinois residents should know that asbestos use, though restricted, has not been banned outright. Besides that, the mineral can still be found in old building materials like drywall, tiles and shingles. Inhaling asbestos leads to respiratory problems and then perhaps a serious condition like lung cancer, mesothelioma or asbestosis.
Lung cancer is the most common of the three conditions as well as the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S. Chronic smokers who are exposed to asbestos, in addition to those who breathe in secondhand smoke or who are exposed to certain gases, run a high risk for lung cancer.
Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer that develops in the lining of the internal organs. There are four types with pleural mesothelioma, affecting the pleura, or membrane of the lungs, being the most common. This is found in 70-80% of mesothelioma patients. Only around 10% of mesothelioma patients live beyond five years after their diagnosis. Symptoms like swelling and lumps in the affected area can alert one to the condition.
Asbestosis is a form of pneumoconiosis, a lung disease caused by breathing in certain kinds of dust. Asbestos fibers can scar the lung tissue, causing breathing problems. There is no cure for this or for mesothelioma.
Construction and manufacturing workers are at an especially high risk for asbestos exposure. If they find out they have mesothelioma or another asbestos-related condition, they may be able to pursue a case against whoever was responsible for their exposure. It could be their employer, or it could be the maker of a part containing asbestos. Building up such a case can be difficult on one’s own, so victims may want legal assistance. The lawyer may use medical experts and other third parties before striving for a settlement.