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Screening for asbestos-related diseases could save your life

By Michael Bartlett

Posted on April 02nd, 2020

If you were exposed to asbestos in the workplace or in the military, you have a high risk of developing a serious disease. For this reason, undergoing asbestos screening is crucial for your health. By using chest X-rays, as well as breathing and blood tests, a medical specialist will be able to determine how damaged your lungs are.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral with remarkable durability and resistance to various chemicals, electricity and fire that was used for the manufacturing of a wide range of commercial and industrial products during the last century. Nevertheless, it was deemed a known human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. There is no safe level of exposure to asbestos and the risk of developing a disease does not decrease over time, as the toxic fibers cannot be eliminated by our bodies.

Asbestos exposure at the workplace

Over 75 occupational groups were regularly exposed to asbestos on the job before 1980, when asbestos use was finally regulated in the workplace. Because it has numerous convenient properties and was also cheap, the mineral would be employed in tremendous amounts by industries such as construction, power generation, chemical and oil refining.

Thereby, because they were not required to wear adequate protective equipment when handling asbestos, workers would inevitably inhale and ingest toxic fibers, which now increases their risk of receiving a dire diagnosis, as diseases caused by asbestos exposure occur within 20 to 50 years following the first exposure. The poor ventilation of the facilities employees would perform their work in only perpetuated asbestos exposure, as the dangerous fibers would linger in the air for a long period of time. Consequently, if you worked with asbestos, we strongly encourage you to undergo asbestos screening, as the majority of diseases that stem from occupational asbestos exposure are asymptomatic in their early phases.

The earlier you receive a diagnosis, the more favorable your prognosis will be. According to estimates, 20% of former industrial workers will develop a disease as a result of occupational asbestos exposure. It is important to know that if you are a former industrial worker with a disease that developed as a consequence of occupational asbestos exposure, you can recover the compensation you deserve by filing a claim with the help of a lawyer who specializes in toxic exposure cases.

The following are some of the occupational groups with heavy asbestos exposure on the job during the last century:

Veterans and military asbestos exposure

The military also made use of enormous amounts of asbestos during the last century, particularly the U.S. Navy. It is estimated that there were over 300 different asbestos products on every ship before 1980. As a consequence, over 30% of veterans are struggling with a disease caused by military asbestos exposure today. Because diseases that stem from asbestos exposure have a long latency period, veterans are now at high risk of developing a disease, which is why undergoing asbestos screening is essential for their wellbeing. In the unfortunate event that you already have a diagnosis related to asbestos exposure, our law firm will provide you with quality legal assistance to recover the compensation you are eligible for.

What does asbestos screening involve?

Asbestos screening entails a medical specialist thoroughly evaluating the health of a person with a history of asbestos exposure, whether they have a diagnosis or not. The medical expert will employ diagnostic tools such as chest X-rays, as well as breathing and blood tests, which will eventually allow them to determine the damage asbestos fibers have caused to your lungs up until that point. In the end, you will receive a correct and accurate diagnosis, which will not only help you receive the treatment you need, but may also make you eligible for compensation from the liable companies. People who performed the following activities should undergo asbestos screening, as they are very susceptible to developing a disease as a consequence of asbestos exposure:

  • mining of asbestos or other minerals contaminated with it such as talc and vermiculite
  • manufacturing of asbestos products
  • maintenance and repair involving direct contact with asbestos products
  • asbestos waste and disposal

During your asbestos screening, it is advisable to discuss with the medical specialist about:

  • any direct contact with asbestos
  • your age when you were first exposed to asbestos
  • the number of years that have passed from your first asbestos exposure
  • the circumstances, duration and intensity of your asbestos exposure
  • your employment history and other potential sources of asbestos exposure

After your asbestos screening, the medical expert may refer you to other specialists for additional tests, such as pulmonary function tests, bronchoscopy, bronchoalveolar lavage or biopsy. The diagnostic tools may also include a spirometry test that measures your lung capacity and function. A CT scan may also be performed for a precise examination of your lungs, as the test provides the medical professional with quality images of the inside of your body.

A chest X-ray is the most common test in asbestos screening

Because the asbestos fibers in your lungs are visible on a chest X-ray, this is one of the most common diagnostic tools in asbestos screening.

Nevertheless, it is important to keep in mind that the radiographic appearance of asbestos fibers is usually not present until at least 5 years after your first asbestos exposure. In addition to clinical evaluation, the help of a B-reader, a physician trained and certified in diagnosing lung disease that occurs as a result of occupational exposure to toxic agents, will also be necessary for a correct and accurate diagnosis. The B-reader will look for the following in your lungs:

  • high levels of fibrosis: thickening, stiffening and scarring of the lung tissue
  • pleural changes: benign pleura, diffuse pleural thickening and possible calcifications within pleural plaques
  • interstitial changes: linear, irregular radiographic opacities in the lower lung field

We offer free of charge asbestos screening to the victims of asbestos exposure

If you have a history of asbestos exposure and experience a new onset of symptoms or if you already have a diagnosis but are seeking a second opinion, our medical experts will provide you with a free of charge asbestos screening, which will eventually result in you receiving a correct diagnosis. Whether you are a former industrial worker or a veteran, they will gladly examine your lungs for asbestos fibers and subsequently determine how much damage they have done to your lung tissue. If you live within driving distance of Birmingham, Alabama, please come to our law firm and our medical specialists will thoroughly assess the health of your lungs.

Quality legal assistance for the victims of asbestos exposure

In the regrettable event that you came to struggle with a disease as a result of occupational or military asbestos exposure, do not hesitate to contact our law firm, as our attorneys have been pursuing compensation for victims of asbestos exposure for over 25 years. After a thorough case review, they will help you file a claim to receive the financial compensation you are entitled to from the liable companies.

If you are a former industrial worker, your claim will be filed with the asbestos trust funds of the companies that exposed you to asbestos, whereas if you are a veteran, your claim will also be filed with the VA, as they offer compensation to veterans injured by toxic agents in the military in the form of monthly disability compensation. Eventually, you will recover the maximum compensation available if you decide to work with our resourceful legal team. However, it is important to keep in mind that asbestos exposure cases have a statute of limitations of 3 years from the moment of diagnosis in most states, which should make taking legal action a priority for you.