Asbestos is a term used to classify a group of mineral fibers that share properties of thermal and chemical resistance, flexibility, and hight tensile strength. The term “asbestos” comes from the Greek word for inextinguishable and was termed the “magic mineral” because of its’ extraordinary ability to withstand heat. There are six minerals defined as asbestos including: chrysotile, amosite, crocidolite, tremolite, anthophyllite and actinolite.
The history of this remarkable, but hazardous material dates back to at least 2500 B.C., when it was used as an ingredient in pottery making. Since then, asbestos has been used in a wide-range of products such as automotive brake pads and clutches, cement, ceiling and floor tiles, boilers, electrical wire insulation, gaskets, joint compound and adhesives, just to name a few.
Mesothelioma is type of lung cancer that is aggressive in nature and almost, always results from exposure to asbestos. At present there is no known cure for Mesothelioma and life expectancy is between 4 to 24 month from the initial onset of symptoms. Currently there is an ongoing epidemic of this disease in the US and it is not showing any signs of slowing down. The primary cause of the Mesothelioma problem is negligence on the part of asbestos manufactures since the1970’s whom did not protect their employees from the dangers of asbestos. Due to this fact and because the latency period for Mesothelioma is between 20 to 40 years, the court system has being inundated with pending asbestos cases ever since. It is estimated that asbestos cases will not peak for another 20 years.
Below are some statistical facts about asbestos and mesothelioma lung cancer:
Asbestos is considered a carcinogen, which means that it can cause cancer.
Asbestos is a fibrous mineral that occurs naturally in the environment.
About 70% to 80% of all reported cases of asbestos exposure occur in the work place.
Over the past 50 years, occupational exposure to asbestos in the United States is estimated to have occurred in approximately 8 million people.
Mesothelioma is an aggressive form of lung cancer that results from exposure to airborne asbestos fibers.
There are two types of Mesothelioma, pleural and peritoneal.
Initial symptoms of Mesothelioma do not appear until 30 to 40 years after first exposure to asbestos.
Symptoms of Mesothelioma usually arise 2 to 3 months before the cancer is found and can resemble shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, persistent cough, pneumonia, chest and abdominal pain.
Mesothelioma is a terminal disease with no known cure and victims die within 18 months of diagnosis due to the cancer being too advanced by the time it is detected.
Treatments for Mesothelioma include surgery to remove the tumors, chemotherapy, radiation, or a combination of all three.
Management of mesothelioma depends largely on the the staging of the tumor as well as the age and physical condition of the patient. Early diagnosis and surgical intervention may lengthen life expectancy.
According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately 3,000 new cases per year of malignant mesothelioma are being reported in the United States, and the incidence appears to be increasing.
Asbestos cases will continue to increase and it is estimated to peak around the year 2025, according to experts.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued regulations to phase out the use of almost all asbestos products in 1989, and these rules were overturned in a court challenge in 1991.
Asbestos is still not banned in the US and there are about 5,000 products that contain asbestos circulating in the US.
Most asbestos products are used as an ingredient in the making of a final product, such as vinyl-asbestos flooring and friction products, which are purchased mostly by the construction and automobile industries.
EPA has not banned any substance for any use since 1991 under the provision of the law used for the asbestos ban.
It is estimated that about 8 million people in the U.S. have been exposed to asbestos in the work place, and, or their home.
The Congressional Budget Office claims that there are 322,00 pending claims.
Fair compensation for mesothelioma frequently means a settlement of over $1,000,000.
About 2,500 victims of Mesothelioma die each year.
The disease is three times more common in men than in women. In men, the occurrence of mesothelioma is ten times higher in men between the ages of 60-70 as compared to men between the ages of 30-40.
Due to the monetary value of Mesothelioma as a keyword search term on the Internet, there are bids on Overture or Google Ad Words of over $160 per click, which primarily involved law firms.