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From Boom to Bust: The Repercussions of Asbestos Use

Brief: The Industrial Revolution brought not only economic growth but growth of the asbestos industry. While the commercialization of asbestos made it easy to incorporate, the repercussions of asbestos use on human health had resulted in something much darker. Decades after the commercialization, asbestos had found its way into many military people and workers lungs. This led to doctors drawing the connection of exposure and lung disease, which resulted in mass demands for safety of these workers. The United States approached this by banning the mining of asbestos in 2002 but still allows the imports of it. As a means to bring awareness, The Halpern Law Firm aims to provide the public and families facing the repercussions of the asbestos and mesothelioma, accurate – unbiased information. But what exactly is mesothelioma? Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that targets mesothelial cells and includes Peritoneal, Pericardial, Testicular, and Pleural mesothelioma. This disease unfortunately presents no cure, however the treatments include chemotherapy, surgery, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and targeted therapy.

A time of boom and innovation that occurred during the Industrial Revolution brought not only economic growth but growth of the asbestos industry. The commercialization of this mineral that is resistant to high temperatures ,water, and electricity assisted in architecture of many homes and products. The miners of this mineral and the businessmen of this time found that its characteristics made it a great form of insulation for walls, automobiles, and other appliances. This realization created a profitable movement and led to the worldwide production of asbestos resulting in more than 30,000 tons in the 1900’s (Virta).

While this made it easy to incorporate, the impact on human health had resulted in something much darker. Trade workers, military men, and automobile mechanics had begun reporting feelings of dry coughs, chest pain, and shortness of breath. Unfortunately, this issue was minimized and the occurrence of death amongst young workers was not enough to encourage the pause of this product. The United States had now found themselves as the leaders in asbestos consumption. However, a period of downturn of asbestos occurred after World War I and quickly picked up following World War II. The increase of usage from 37% to 60% during this time was due to the pickup of war materials requiring this mineral (Virta).

Legislative Repercussions of Asbestos Use

Eventually, decades after its commercialization, asbestos had found its way into military lungs and the connection of mesothelioma was discovered. At this point, the year is 1970, workers and doctors are beginning to draw the occurrence of asbestos exposure and lung disease, which resulted in mass demands for safety of these workers.

While other countries made efforts to ban asbestos, the United States had still not passed legislation eliminating the use of this product. Currently, the only form of legislation against asbestos is targeted towards the mining, as the last asbestos mine closed in 2002, but nothing further.

As a means to bring awareness to the issue, The Halpern Law Firm aims to provide the public and families impacted by the disease, accurate – unbiased information. To expand further on the relation, the American Lung association claims that “Eight out of 10 people with mesothelioma report asbestos exposure”, which can occur from ingestion or inhalation. As mentioned previously, workers who engaged in shipyards, the military, and automobiles are at more risk to this occurrence. In addition to these civilians, individuals who live or have lived in homes that were created in the years 1945-1978 are also at risk of facing the repercussions of asbestos exposure due to the heavy use of it in wall insulation.

 

Health Repercussions of Asbestos Use

But what exactly is mesothelioma? Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that targets mesothelial cells and is the parent name of four different branches of the disease. The most common form is Pleural mesothelioma, which attacks the tissue lining of the chest and lungs. Inside of this category, there are three different types. Epithelioid mesothelioma which is the most common form and also the easiest to treat (Clinic).The second type is Sarcomatoid which is the rarest form and grows faster than the other types. The last type is Biphasic which is also rare but contains a mix of epithelioid and sarcomatoid cells (Clinic). The symptoms that follow pleural mesothelioma, is a persistent cough, night sweats, fatigue, and difficulty swallowing (Clinic).

The second type of mesothelioma is Peritoneal mesothelioma, which attacks the lining of the abdomen. This is also the second most common type and the symptoms are not always obvious but can include a swollen abdomen, nausea, and stomach pain. The third type of mesothelioma is Pericardial mesothelioma, which attacks the lining of the heart. These symptoms include coughing, shortness of breath, and an irregular heartbeat. The last form and least common is Testicular mesothelioma which attacks the lining of the testicles. The symptoms include an enlarged scrotum that can include fluid (“Types of Mesothelioma: Common, Rare and More”).

While the mining of asbestos ended in the United States in 2002, thousands of people are still experiencing the repercussions of asbestos use each year. There is an average of 3000 cases per year and affect women and men of all ages. This is 3000 families that the Halpern Law Firm is here to support and provide reimbursement and justice for. The frequency of this disease unfortunately presents no cure, however there are various treatments that can help to minimize the symptoms and slow down the spread of the disease. Some of the treatments include chemotherapy, surgery, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and targeted therapy. In addition to this, doctors are working tirelessly to conduct trials testing the benefits and side effects of these treatments including new innovations.

If you or someone you know has been affected by mesothelioma in the state of Pennsylvania, please visit The Halpern Law firm for a free consultation or call (800) 505-6000 to turn today’s adversity into tomorrow’s justice.

 

Sources:
  • Virta, Robert L. Worldwide Asbestos Supply and Consumption Trends from 1900 through 2003. 2006, pubs.usgs.gov/circ/2006/1298/c1298.pdf.

Written By Ashley Navarrete  

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