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Home / Practice Areas / Asbestos Exposures
Asbestosis is a chronic lung disease caused by the retention of asbestos fibers in the lungs after prolonged exposure to asbestos. Similar to other asbestos-related diseases, asbestosis manifests many years after initial asbestos exposure. Symptoms of asbestosis include shortness of breath and reduced lung function. Individuals with asbestosis are also at risk for developing mesothelioma.
Occupations with a High Risk of Asbestos Exposure:
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women. Each year more people die of lung cancer than colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined. While lung cancer is commonly attributed to smoking, exposure to asbestos has also been proven to increase the risk of developing lung cancer. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has determined that the higher the concentration of asbestos fibers a person is exposed to, the higher the risk of lung cancer. Individuals in occupations in which asbestos or asbestos dust is present in a confined area carry an elevated risk of developing an asbestos-related disease.
High-Risk Industries Include:
Mesothelioma is a very rare and aggressive form of cancer that affects the cells in the linings inside the chest, abdomen, and space around the heart. Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos, and claims an average of 3,000 lives per year. Fewer than 4,500 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed annually.
There are three major types of mesothelioma: pleural, peritoneal, and pericardial. Pleural mesothelioma affects the lung's protective lining in the chest cavity and is the most common type of mesothelioma. Peritoneal and pericardial mesothelioma affect the abdominal and cardiac cavities, and together account for one-fourth of mesothelioma diagnoses.
Occupational exposure is the most prevalent source of asbestos exposure, although the family members of asbestos workers are also at a risk of exposure.
Those at risk of developing asbestos-related diseases include: