Mesothelioma

Atlanta Mesothelioma Attorney

Generally

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that attacks the protective lining (or mesothelium) of the lungs, which consequently causes them to not be able to function properly. Mesothelioma is almost always fatal and almost all cases of mesothelioma disease are due to asbestos exposure. Unfortunately, by the time the symptoms occur, mesothelioma has already taken its toll on the human body. Mesothelioma accounts for more than 3,000 deaths in the United States every year, but is increasing at an alarming rate.

Causes

Malignant mesothelioma is almost exclusively a result of asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a form of silicate mineral that has been used by manufacturers around the world due to its ability to withstand damage from fire, heat, and electrical charge. The most common type of asbestos used in the United States is known as chrysotile. Chrysotile is used to manufacture a wide variety of products, including insulation, drywall, “mud”, joint compound, plaster, roofing shingles, ceilings, gaskets, brake pads, clutch plates, stage curtains, fire blankets, firebricks and high- temperature cement, welding rods, cement piping, dental cast linings, and filters designed to remove particulates from liquids. In 2005, it was estimated that 1.3 million workers were in environments that contained asbestos, although the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets limits to the acceptable level of asbestos exposure in the workplace.

Asbestos is found in factories where the manufacture of these above listed products takes place, but also warehouses and other locations where products that contain asbestos are kept or stored. Individuals who have only worked for only a few months in factories that contain asbestos have developed mesothelioma. Older buildings constructed with asbestos- containing building materials also pose a danger to inhabitants for developing mesothelioma. The danger still remains for those who are not directly exposed to asbestos. Family members of those who work or have been exposed to asbestos also face the danger of coming into contact withthe asbestos dust by way of clothing, skin or hair follicles. For instance, in the 1980’s and 1990’s many cases of mesothelioma started appearing in woman who had not worked in or around asbestos. It turns out that these woman were either married to or the daughters of workers who were working with asbestos products during the 1960‘s, 1970‘s and 1980‘s and that these woman washed the family clothes. The first step in washing the clothes was to shake off the dust (which often contained asbestos). These woman inhaled the asbestos fibers in this fashion, and subsequently were diagnosed with mesothelioma. Due to the extraordinary latency period between asbestos exposure and the onset of mesothelioma (anywhere from 20 to 50 years), these cases started showing up well after the exposures.

Types of Mesothelioma

The three main types of mesothelioma include: 1) pleural mesothelioma, which is the most common type that affects the lining of the lungs, 2) periotoneal mesothelioma, that affects the lining of the abdominal cavity, and 3) pericardial mesothelioma, the rarest form, which affects the lining of the heart.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Unfortunately, the existence of mesothelioma usually goes unnoticed until the harmful bodily effects have already taken place. Symptoms of mesothelioma sometimes will not appear for 20 to 50 years after exposure to asbestos, making it difficult for those affected to know if they are in danger. Symptoms generally include fever, nausea, sudden weight loss, chest pain and difficulty breathing. However, more serious instances may cause more severe symptoms such as blood clots, bowel obstruction, jaundice, or low blood sugar.

Treatments

Unfortunately, mesothelioma is a devastating cancer that frequently results in death. Although an individual diagnosed with mesothelioma has an average life expectancy of one year, medical professionals still are able to combat the cancer with three different treatments: chemotherapy, radiation and surgery (and in severe cases a combination of all three). Generally, chemotherapy is used to stop all cells from dividing, which has the effect of stopping the cancer from spreading through out the body. Radiation treatment is used to destroy or shrink cancerous cells by focusing high-energy rays on external malignant tumors, or injecting radioactive substances to surround internal tumors. If the surgery is possible, doctors will attempt to make incisions in order to physically remove the malignant tumors, a process known as a biopsy. Because of the increase in mesothelioma diagnosis on a national level, there are now clinical studies being conducted in exploring alternative treatments.

We have earned our reputation for excellence by helping clients and families face life-changing tragedies such as dealing with a diagnosis of mesothelioma. We are experienced and skilled asbestos lawyers who have recovered millions of dollars for our clients. If you would like to discuss your case with an experienced Georgia asbestos injury lawyer, call Robert J. Fleming at (404) 525-5150 or contact us online. We are here to help.

Georgia Industries With Heavy Asbestos Use

It is important to understand that asbestos exposure results from different trades working with asbestos. However, a lot of the exposure that causes mesothelioma is caused by workers working alongside other workers who are working with asbestos products. For instance, while a carpenter may not have worked directly with any asbestos products, he may have worked alongside a pipe-fitter (who worked almost exclusively with asbestos). In a case like this, both workers may have been equally exposed to usage levels of asbestos. Industries in which Georgia workers have historically been exposed to unsafe amounts of asbestos include:

  • Automotive repair
  • Construction
  • Insulation
  • Companies which refurbish ships, buses, railroad cars, etc.
  • Maritime
  • Coast Guard
  • Oil refiners
  • Refractories
  • Boiler plants
  • Power plants
  • Railroads
  • Shipyards
  • Ship Builders
  • Steel mills
  • Cotton Mills
  • Paper Mills
  • Military

Asbestos Heavily Used in Occupations

Georgia workers have typically been heavily exposed to asbestos while performing the following jobs:

  • Auto mechanics
  • Military mechanics
  • Mechanics helpers
  • Boilermakers
  • Bricklayers
  • Carpenters
  • Machine Operators
  • Demo workers
  • Drywallers
  • Mudders
  • Electricians
  • Masons
  • Grinders
  • Pipe Fitters
  • Insulators
  • Iron workers
  • Laborers
  • Garbagemen
  • Maintenance workers
  • Longshoremen
  • Merchant Marines
  • Coast Guard
  • Millwrights
  • Painters
  • Plumbers
  • Janitors
  • Roofers
  • Sheet metal workers
  • Steam fitters
  • Welders
  • Refractory Workers
  • Firefighters
  • Military veterans (especially Navy)

Products Containing Asbestos

Asbestos was commonly used in the following products:

  • Brake linings
  • Gaskets
  • Insulation
  • Packing materials
  • Hoses
  • Tubes
  • Insulated Cable
  • Insulation Block
  • Pipe covering and mud
  • Felt materials
  • Thermal insulation
  • Deck covering
  • Refractory materials
  • High heat Mortar
  • Welding Rods
  • High temperature cement
  • Welding Gloves
  • Welding Shields
  • Boilers Millboard
  • Any other products which were used in and around severe heat

It is important to understand that these lists are not exhaustive. Many times, trades worked side-by-side and the exposure was duplicative. In addition, while we are not sure why this is true, many cases of mesothelioma are caused by second-hand exposure.

If you would like a free mesothelioma case evaluation, please call Robert J. Fleming directly at (404) 525-5150. We are here to help.

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