Mesothelioma Still Being Diagnosed Decades After Asbestos Exposure

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Updated May 29, 2019

Symptoms of mesothelioma can take 20 to 50 years after initial exposure to asbestos before the disease shows obvious signs and an oncologist can make a definitive diagnosis. Claims and lawsuits based on mesothelioma being caused by exposure to asbestos are still viable due to the long latency period between asbestos exposure and mesothelioma diagnosis.

Asbestos and Mesothelioma

There is a direct link between exposure to asbestos and the diagnosis of mesothelioma. So, what is asbestos? Asbestos is a heat-resistant fibrous silicate mineral that can be woven into fabrics and is used in fire-resistant and insulating materials such as brake pads and linings. Asbestos is microscopic and can lodge in the pleural lining of the lungs and the peritoneal lining of the abdominal cavity.

Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer affecting the membrane lining of the lungs and abdomen. The primary cause and risk factor for mesothelioma is the exposure to asbestos. There are three types of mesothelioma and each affects different internal organs: pleural (lungs), peritoneal (abdominal cavity), and pericardium (heart).

Look Out for Asbestos

It’s possible to find asbestos hazards in many areas of the home, including the following:

  • Some roofing and siding shingles made of asbestos cement
  • Houses built between 1930 and 1970 may have asbestos as insulation
  • Asbestos may be present in textured paint and patching compounds, the use of which was banned in 1977
  • Artificial ashes and embers sold for use in gas fireplaces
  • Older products such as stove-top pads
  • Some vinyl floor tiles
  • Hot water and steam pipes in older houses may be coated with an asbestos material, blanket, or tape
  • Oil and coal furnaces and door gaskets may have asbestos insulation

Mesothelioma Lawsuits Occurring Decades Later

Most uses of asbestos were banned in the 1970s and 1980s, but because of the latency period between exposure and diagnosis, mesothelioma diagnoses are still occurring.

For example, a Tampa Bay jury awarded nearly $37 million to asbestos plaintiffs in a brake-lining lawsuit. The plaintiffs were mechanics working with brakes and were never warned by the manufacturer of the brake linings that they could be in danger due to inhaled asbestos. Jurors found the manufacturer liable for failing to warn of the dangers of asbestos-containing brake linings and strictly liable for placing a defective product in the stream of commerce.

Wilson Kehoe Winingham brings you this information with best regards for you and your family’s safety.

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