Generally, exposure becomes significant after several years of regular contact with asbestos
Asbestos is classified as a known human carcinogen by multiple reputable agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Due to the toxic nature of this mineral, no level of exposure is safe and nowadays, companies which still employ asbestos are legally compelled to provide workers with protective equipment. Despite the undeniable health hazard, not everyone who was exposed to asbestos will develop a disease. There are two factors which determine the severity of exposure, as well as whether it is significant: duration and intensity. Consequently, the longer you are exposed to asbestos, the more likely you are to become ill. Similarly, a high level of airborne fibers is associated with an increased risk of developing a disease.
However, according to the National Cancer Institute, there is also a correlation between the severity of exposure and the disease you are prone to. Thus, while people who have been exposed to a high concentration of asbestos over the course of at least one year have a considerable chance of developing mesothelioma or lung cancer, those who were in contact with lower levels of airborne fibers may be diagnosed with asbestosis or pleural plaques in the future. The concentration of airborne asbestos is measured in fibers per milliliter of air a year (f/mL-yr). In the case of lung cancer, for instance, exposure is considered significant when the individual was exposed to 25 f/mL-yr.
Nevertheless, these are general rules which do not apply to every person with a history of asbestos exposure. There have been cases when people developed a serious disease after being exposed to lower levels of asbestos or after a shorter duration of exposure.
Do you or a family member struggle with an asbestos-related disease? The highly experienced attorneys at Environmental Litigation Group, P.C. can help you recover the financial compensation you deserve. If you are diagnosed with mesothelioma, lung cancer or asbestosis, please contact our office at (205) 328-9200 and we will provide you with quality legal assistance and representation.