What Is Asbestos?
Many people have heard of asbestos but aren’t entirely certain what it is. Asbestos is a naturally occurring material comprising multiple fibrous minerals. These minerals are made up of microscopic fibers which, when disturbed, can be released into the air. When these fibers are breathed in or otherwise ingested, they become permanently lodged in the body where they can cause massive, far-reaching harm.
Because it is naturally strong and resistant to heat and flame, asbestos was widely used throughout the United States during the 1900s, up until the early 1980s when most manufacturers began to phase it out of their products. Building materials, cosmetics, heating and air conditioning units, and even children’s toys—along with a whole host of other common industrial and consumer products—manufactured prior to the 1980s may all contain asbestos.
The Dangers of Asbestos Exposure
Asbestos has been linked with a number of serious, life-threatening conditions. Unfortunately, because it has such a long latency period (anywhere from 10 to 40 years), many people do not realize that they have developed negative health effects for years or sometimes even decades after being exposed to asbestos.
Some of the health conditions and cancers associated with asbestos exposure include:
These and other asbestos-related conditions can cause serious physical and financial problems for victims, as they require extensive medical treatment and ongoing care. Sadly, many of these conditions are fatal.
How Long Has the Asbestos Industry Known About the Risks?
Humans have been mining and using asbestos for thousands of years, but it wasn’t until relatively recently that the dangers of asbestos exposure became known. Around the turn of the 20th Century, just as industrialization helped propel mining and manufacturing processes forward, doctors began documenting the risks associated with asbestos exposure. In 1906, Dr. Montague Murray recorded the first documented pulmonary failure death of an asbestos worker in London, England. Meanwhile, reports in the United States, France, and Italy all displayed an alarming trend of asbestos workers dying unnaturally young.
As far back as 1908, U.S. insurance companies began increasing premiums while simultaneously decreasing benefits and coverage for asbestos workers—a clear indication that the risks of working with or being exposed to asbestos led to health problems.
Despite the documented risks, the asbestos industry continued churning out products to meet the high demand for strong, cost-effective, mass-produced materials. The full scope of the dangers of asbestos exposure was not widely known by consumers for decades, as the asbestos industry failed to heed or publicize reports warning of the dangers.
Today, though it is banned in numerous countries around the globe, asbestos is not prohibited in U.S. manufacturing. It is, however, heavily regulated.
Who Is Most at Risk?
Asbestos is most harmful when it is disturbed, as this allows the fibers to enter the air where it can be inhaled or ingested. As such, individuals who work with or around asbestos are the most at risk.
Over time, studies have shown that the following individuals are at an increased risk of asbestos exposure:
- Union laborers
- Sheet metal workers
- Auto/truck mechanics
- Navy machinist mates
To learn more about workers who are most at risk, please visit our High-Risk Occupations page.
Why Contact an Attorney?
Because the asbestos industry knew about the potential risks of exposure yet did nothing to warn the public or take safety measures to prevent illness for decades, those who have been affected by asbestos exposure and its harmful effects can take action against negligent asbestos manufacturers. However, while you may be entitled to compensation for your damages—including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, or wrongful death damages—actually recovering your rightful compensation is not easy.
At Richmond Vona, LLC, we can help you prepare and file your claim or fight back if you have had your claim denied. We can also work with the liable party to negotiate a fair settlement or, if necessary, advocate for you at trial. With years of experience and over $100 million recovered for our clients, we have what it takes to fight tirelessly for you.
Buffalo Asbestos Lawyer
We Fight for Victims of Asbestos Exposure & Their Families:
Throughout the 20th Century, asbestos was widely used in a variety of products and materials, thanks to its natural strength and fire-resistance. However, in recent years, reports have revealed that asbestos manufacturers knew about the hazardous effects of asbestos exposure as far back as the turn of the century—yet they did nothing to warn the public of these dangers. This prioritization of profits over public health and safety has led to thousands of individuals suffering the harmful and sometimes deadly effects of asbestos exposure.
If you or someone you love was diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis, or another condition or illness related to exposure to asbestos or asbestos-containing materials, you have the right to take legal action. At Richmond Vona, LLC, we believe that negligent asbestos manufacturers and other liable entities should be held accountable for the harm they have caused to innocent individuals and workers.
If you believe you have been affected by asbestos exposure, contact our Buffalo asbestos attorneys today for a free, no-obligation consultation. We are ready to listen to your story.
We offer compassionate, personalized client service and tenacious representation, both in and out of the court room. Our Buffalo asbestos lawyers are available to take your call and answer any questions you may have at any time throughout the process. From our office in Buffalo, we serve victims of negligence and those harmed by asbestos exposure throughout Western New York.
Give us a call at (716) 300-5885 or contact us online to get started with a free consultation.
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