Eagle Environmental


17 years ago

Author: Jimmy Atkinson

Mesothelioma is a rare cancer that attacks the body’s mesothelial cells around the organs. The mesothelium provides a protective membranous lining for the internal organs and allows moving organs (i.e. the heart and the lungs) to glide easily against adjacent structures. The names of the three regions of mesothelial cells that provide protective coating are 1) pleura, the sac which surrounds the lungs; 2) peritoneum, the lining which protects the abdominal cavity; and 3) pericardium, the sac which surrounds the heart. Three different types of mesothelioma cancer attack these three different regions.

Pleural mesothelioma: A type of lung cancer which attacks the pleura surrounding the lungs, this is the most common type of mesothelioma, affecting approximately two-thirds of all mesothelioma patients. Symptoms include horseness, fever, blood in sputum, swollen arms and face, coughing, loss of weight, difficulty breathing, chest pain, weak muscles, and reduced tactile sensitivity.

Peritoneal mesothelioma: A cancer of the abdomen which attacks the peritoneum lining the abdominal cavity. This affects approximately one-third of all mesothelioma patients. Symptoms include abdominal bloating, impaired bowl function, fever, swollen feet, and nausea.

Pericardial mesothelioma: This form of mesothelioma which attacks the pericardium surrounding the heart is extremely rare. Symptoms include chest pain, dyspnea, cough, and palpitations.

Mesothelioma has been linked to asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a type of building material used in thermal insulation products and ceiling tiles. In the United States, asbestos usage peaked during the 1950s - 1970s. During the late 1960s, concerns over the health consequences of asbestos exposure began to arise, thereby decreasing the amount of asbestos manufactured in next two decades. By the 1980s, a new industry of asbestos abatement began to flourish. But according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as many as 733,000 schools and public buildings still contain asbestos.

Small asbestos fibers that enter the air do not evaporate and can remain suspended in the air for a long time. These fibers, when breathed into the body, are toxic. There are three types of asbestos exposure.

Occupational asbestos exposure: People working in factories that manufacure asbestos are likely to have a high exposure to asbestos and are most at risk of developing asbestosis or mesothelioma.

Paraoccupational asbestos exposure: Family members of workers exposed to asbestos in the workplace are susceptible to exposure from asbestos dust brought home by the worker on his clothes or skin.

Neighborhood asbestos exposure: Those who live in the vicinity of an asbestos manufacturing plant are also at risk.

Mesothelioma is still a relatively rare form of cancer. There are an estimated 2,000 - 3,000 new cases per year in the United States. Approximately 7-13 per one million male patients with a history of asbestos exposure contract mesothelioma. Diagnosis usually occurs 20-40 years after initial exposure to asbestos.

California Asbestos Removal Companies

Asbestos removal is the process of ridding a building or material of the asbestos that it may have been originally built with. Abatement companies all over California are busy with asbestos removal, in part due to the influx of asbestos litigation and mesothelioma lawsuits. Asbestos removal by a professional abatement company is only a fraction of the cost of a mesothelioma lawsuit.

Asbestos litigation can cost a company millions while asbestos removal only costs a few thousand dollars by comparison. Granted, large companies may have to spend more than a drop in the bucket to an abatement company for adequate asbestos removal, but it is still only a drop in the bucket when compared to the cost of a mesothelioma lawsuit, not to mention the human cost.

Companies of the seventies and earlier were permitted to build their buildings with large amounts of asbestos in order to protect them from the potential of fire damage. Companies and buildings created post 1980 were subject to different laws and were permitted what was then considered minimal amounts of asbestos in their production. Unfortunately, asbestos was still used in the automotive industry, construction companies, and a few other companies during this time.

Even older homes and office buildings were built using asbestos. Asbestos removal has become increasingly important as it is not so difficult to trace back one case of mesothelioma to a company, which means there is likely to be more asbestos litigation on the way. An abatement company can have the toxic material removed from the building in a very short period of time and workers can return to their employment with a renewed sense of safety.

Ironically, companies have become less devoted to their employee safety over the past 20 years. Abatement companies were much busier with jobs concerning asbestos removal with companies voicing concern for workforce safety ten years ago than they are today.

High turnover and the potential to leave a job and create a cheaper workforce are all reasons cited for this, but asbestos removal is appropriate regardless of the turnover rate or employee dissention. Asbestos litigation can occur regardless of whether the employee worked for the company all their life or only worked there just long enough to get sick.

Asbestos removal is a company’s best chance at avoiding costly asbestos litigation and defending themselves in a mesothelioma lawsuit. A mesothelioma lawsuit can cost a company upwards of ten million dollars by the time damages are awarded and court and attorney fees are factored in. Asbestos removal by a certified abatement company is really much cheaper.

While mesothelioma may take decades to surface after an employee has gone off to other employment or retired, many companies are finding that the damages awarded in a mesothelioma lawsuit are considerable less if they have gone through an abatement company and requested asbestos removal.

By following through with asbestos removal, juries do notice that there is obvious concern for employee health at a later time and do take that into consideration. Most companies who are involved in asbestos litigation are under new management or ownership by the time asbestos litigation is filed, and the public appreciates a minimal effort of asbestos removal.

Of course, this changes nothing for a mesothelioma victim, and asbestos litigation is still necessary in order to attain the financial means needed to fight for their lives. Doing something is still better than doing nothing.

Mesothelioma lawsuits and asbestos litigation are in effect helping to prevent asbestos related diseases as companies who follow through with asbestos removal are effectively removing the danger for future and present employees. This means that there is a chance that mesothelioma victims are helping to save lives by filing a mesothelioma lawsuit.

At least, it is considered hopeful that their fight will save a few lives down the road. Nobody can be certain of this, but asbestos removal, even if prompted by a legal case, is always the best preventative measure against mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is a terrible disease that attacks thousands of victims every year and is only caused by exposure to asbestos, a toxic chemical that can be removed from a building by an abatement company. It is unfortunate that it has cost so many lives and so much time tied up in asbestos litigation to encourage asbestos removal by companies who knowingly are exposing their workforce to this deadly and dangerous toxin. The effects of asbestos have been understood since the 1920’s. With that knowledge, abatement companies should no longer have asbestos removal jobs to take on.

About the Author

Tim Dillard has worked with some of the largest law firms in America. Dillard is currently the host of Tops In Texas, (http://www.topsintexas.com) and president of Dillard Local Branding (http://www.dlbllc.com), a Houston-based web design, Internet marketing and search engine marketing firm.

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