Understanding, Managing, and Living with the

Health Effects of Asbestos

Asbestos: A Killer, 40 Years Later

May 18, 2013

New Orleans, LA Anyone who has lived with someone with mesothelioma or asbestosis will tell you that such diseases, caused by asbestos exposure, are horrific and painful for their victims. Unfortunately for victims, exposure to asbestos fibers 40 years ago can result in such fatal conditions today. And it is not just the people who worked directly with asbestos that are at risk.

A lawsuit filed in New Orleans, and reported by The Louisiana Record (5/17/13), alleges that a woman was exposed to asbestos and developed mesothelioma because her husband worked with the material and brought it home on his clothing. The lawsuit (case no. 2013-02388) claims the defendants knew about the hazards associated with asbestos but did not warn employees of the danger to them or the danger to their family members because the asbestos can be carried on clothing.

Family members who were exposed to asbestos because their loved ones worked with the material have an increased risk of developing serious, life-threatening conditions as a result. They had no idea they were being exposed to such a serious toxin, or that the toxin could cause devastating illness decades after the exposure.

Lawsuits against companies accused of not properly protecting their employees are prevalent in the courts, with new lawsuits frequently being filed. Many such lawsuits involve long lists of defendants, as some employees worked for a variety of companies during their asbestos exposure. Unfortunately for some employees, some employers may have allowed their workers to be exposed to asbestos simply to save some money, and such activities may still be occurring today.

An article in Surrey Now in British Columbia (5/17/13) claims that many business owners put employees, especially young employees, at risk of asbestos exposure to save money. Although the article is from Canada, it is reasonable to assume that business owners in the US would do the same, especially with some receiving penalties for doing exactly that.

According to the article, buildings constructed before 1984 could contain a lot of asbestos. Employees responsible for the demolition of those buildings can be protected from asbestos exposure if they are given proper safety gear and procedures for handling and disposing of the material, but doing so costs developers more money. The cheaper solution is to pretend there is no asbestos in the building and not provide safety gear and training for employees.

That puts employees at risk of facing a horrific disease, decades after they were exposed to the toxin.