Posted: Oct 17, 2012 at 4:11 PM [Oct 17, 2012]
Veterans and people working to restore historic buildings have something in common: asbestos and mesothelioma. Both of these groups were exposed to asbestos while working on the job. Veterans were exposed to asbestos during the Vietnam War, World War II and Korean War. Most veterans were exposed on the naval shipyards, domestic bases, aircrafts or on naval ships. Most restorers inhaled asbestos while replacing walls, electrical wiring, piping and insulation in historic buildings. Protecting the country and its history is important, but is it worth living with mesothelioma if it is avoidable?
What is Asbestos and What is Its Role in Mesothelioma Development?
Asbestos is a mineral often used in insulation and other aspects of building because of its fire-resistant properties. When left alone, asbestos is highly effective at resisting fire and heat. When inhaled, the tiny mineral becomes lodged in the body’s tissue lining. Since the body cannot metabolize asbestos, it becomes a permanent fixture in the body’s tissue.
As long as the immune system is able to fight in the area where the mineral is lodged, cancer does not develop. Cancer develops when the immune system cannot maintain a healthy environment around the mineral, and the area becomes toxic. A person exposed to asbestos may not develop mesothelioma for 10 to 50 years because it depends on how the body reacts to the foreign substance.
Once a patient is diagnosed, he or she may have a prognosis of approximately eight to eighteen months if the cancer cannot be removed. This does not give a patient enough time to plan for end-of-life. Luckily, for most people, mesothelioma does not develop until they are between 50 and 70 years of age. Many people have lived a fulfilling life up until this point, but that still does not lessen the gravity of this disease.
How Should Asbestos Be Handled?
People who are preserving historical buildings will encounter asbestos. If the mineral is present in a renovation, the project becomes very expensive. A recent historic Rochester building was halted due to the presence of asbestos. In order to remove the asbestos, $2 million is needed. When in the presence of asbestos, aspirators are required, goggles are required and other protective other wear is required. The material must be contained to prevent asbestos from becoming airborne, and workers must ensure that the mineral is removed from their bodies before going home after working with asbestos.
Though historical buildings are an important part of the American culture, asbestos has made these buildings less attractive. People do not want to risk developing mesothelioma after an asbestos exposure. Buildings made after the 1980s do not, for the most part, put construction workers at risk for asbestos exposure. Thus, most people are safe in construction jobs today.
Mesothelioma and Historic Buildings
If a construction worker was exposed to asbestos while working on the job, he or she may be entitled to a cash settlement. Contact a physician and an attorney for more information about asbestos exposure while working on the job. If the employer was negligent, a settlement may be owed. Try to get help as soon as possible to improve your quality of life and general well being.