For years, people thought asbestos was a dream come true. It was easy and cheap to acquire, incredibly strong, flexible enough to be used in protective clothing, and resistant to both intense heat and corrosive elements. But the asbestos craze came to a screeching halt when doctors made the connection between the microscopic fibers and some baffling medical conditions they’d struggled to treat. It turned out that asbestos was making thousands of people very sick.
Refractory Workers and Asbestos Exposure
Refractory workers were exposed to asbestos on a daily basis. It was used in machinery, added to cement, and even hidden in packing materials. This posed a grave risk to refractory workers who encountered the material on the job.
Refractory workers aren’t the only ones at risk for developing an asbestos-related illness. Their loved ones are also at risk. Many refractory workers unknowingly carried asbestos fibers home on their clothing or in their hair. The fibers may have been circulated through their house via the ventilation system and possibly inhaled by friends and family.
Whenever asbestos fibers are released into the air, they are frequently inhaled or ingested unknowingly. Once these particles are in the body, the groundwork for some nasty illnesses is laid. The body isn’t able to flush asbestos particles from its system so they settle into the lining of the lungs, heart, and stomach. Eventually, scar tissue forms over the tiny asbestos fibers and a tumor forms. It can take anywhere from 10 to 50 years for the process to complete, thus why it took doctors so long to understand the real dangers of asbestos.
The good news is that the number of people diagnosed with mesothelioma each year should start to decrease soon thanks to asbestos regulation. After 1980, most industries stopped using the material, which made the air safer to breathe again. However, there are still some people who previously worked in a refractory setting that are just learning how asbestos is ruining their health.
Are Asbestos-Related Illnesses Treatable?
As of right now, the medical community isn’t sure how to treat mesothelioma, especially if it isn’t detected until it’s in stage 3 or 4. They do know that they can use chemo, surgery, and radiation to halt its progression. If the disease is caught quickly enough, in the first or second stage, there’s a good chance that the doctors can send it into remission. It’s not unusual for treatment to add 2-5 years to the overall life expectancy of patients after they’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma. Most enjoy a high quality of life.
Legal Options for Those Diagnosed with Mesothelioma
Due to the high number of people who will potentially develop mesothelioma, the government took steps to help see that their medical bills would be covered. This was done by insisting that businesses in certain industries that made heavy use of asbestos create trust funds that would assist in paying the medical bills of former employees diagnosed with mesothelioma. A good mesothelioma lawyer can help former refractory workers determine which steps they need to take in order to qualify for a settlement from one of these trust funds and investigate other available legal options.