Asbestosis is a chronic lung disease that results from inhaling asbestos fibers. Asbestos, a silicate mineral, can be processed into microscopic fibers that are durable, heat-resistant, and chemically inert. For this reason, asbestos makes an excellent building material and was once widely used in insulation, fireproofing and various other materials from floor tiles to textured paints.
Unfortunately, asbestos fibers are extremely dangerous if inhaled. Anyone working around Asbestos Containing Material (ACM) is at risk of asbestos exposure if those materials are disturbed, such as occurs during renovation or demolition. The glasslike asbestos fibers lodge in the lungs, making tiny cuts in the alveoli (air sacs) and causing scar tissue to build up. This scar tissue, in turn, decreases the amount of oxygen the lungs are able to process. Repeated exposure to Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) increases the level of damage to the lungs and puts victims at risk of developing asbestos-related lung diseases such as asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma (also a cancer).
Jobs at Risk for Asbestosis
The following jobs have the highest rates of asbestosis:
- Auto Mechanics
- Iron Workers
- Power Plant Workers
- Railroad workers
Asbestosis, a chronic condition characterized by excessive scar tissue build-up in the lungs, causes shortness of breath and a lowered resistance to lung infection. The damage caused by asbestosis is often irreversible. Some other symptoms of asbestosis include:
- Chronic cough
- Congestive heart failure
- Chronic chest pain and fluid buildup
- Low tolerance for physical activity
- Finger deformity (clubbing, tips spread out becoming rounder)
Contact an Asbestos Attorney
Workers and others who have been exposed to asbestos containing materials due to unsafe premises or worksites may be able to recover financial compensation from the premises owner or employer. Contact an experienced asbestosis attorney to learn more about your legal rights.