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Chemical Exposure Injuries and Occupational Illness
What is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that develops in the lining of your organs. It is usually caused by asbestos exposure. Symptoms may not occur until over 20 years after someone is exposed.
Most people who develop mesothelioma worked on jobs where they inhaled asbestos particles, were exposed to asbestos dust, or dealt with asbestos fibers in their daily work. Occupations such as shipyard work, mill work and automotive industry careers are often at a higher risk of developing mesothelioma. Sometimes, even handling the clothes or work equipment of someone working in such a close proximity to asbestos can put someone at risk of developing mesothelioma. The dangers of asbestos exposure have been known for years before any measures were undertaken to protect workers. Thousands of American workers were exposed to asbestos during the 20th century, and were unaware of the hazards of exposure.
2,000 to 3,000 cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed each year in the United States, 3 percent of all cancer diagnoses. This cancer occurs four times more frequently in men than in women and almost all cases of diagnosed mesothelioma are fatal. The life expectancy for mesothelioma patients is less than one year after diagnosis, but if the cancer is diagnosed early and aggressively treated, it can improve one's prognosis.
More than 30 percent of those diagnosed with mesothelioma are military veterans. Hundreds of thousands of living veterans were exposed to asbestos-containing items during their military service. Asbestos was used by the military for years mainly for insulation, and in more than 300 other products.
What are the symptoms of Mesothelioma?
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Weight loss
- Cough, wheezing, hoarse voice
- Abdominal swelling from a mass or excess fluid
- Trouble swallowing
- Swelling of neck and face
Those diagnosed with mesothelioma can pursue compensation through mesothelioma litigation including but not limited to lost wages, medical expenses and funeral costs. Our mesothelioma lawyers understand our clients are very ill and we want to help your family handle your case as painlessly as possible. If you have a mesothelioma diagnosis, you can often seek damages from an employer or asbestos manufacturer. With Schechter, McElwee, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., a mesothelioma lawsuit may help you obtain financial support and help you to get justice against a corrupt industry.
Benzene is a highly toxic compound and a known carcinogen. Industrial workers that frequently use or make benzene are at the highest risk of benzene exposure. Some of the most dangerous work environments are oil refineries, chemical plants, rubber manufacturers and gasoline companies. Workers in these jobs are exposed by inhaling the vapors or absorbing the benzene through skin contact.
Workers at Risk for Exposure to Benzene:
- Chemical workers
- Gasoline distribution workers
- Refinery workers
- Shoe/leather workers
- Rubber workers
- Pesticides manufacturing workers
- Paper and pulp manufacturing workers
- Adhesive production workers
- Newspaper press workers
Benzene exposure is responsible for thousands of cancer deaths every single year. This toxic exposure can cause numerous severe illnesses, including AML, acute myelogenous leukemia. AML is the most commonly caused cancer resulting from benzene exposure. AML can be and has been diagnosed in workers and others exposed to benzene for not even five years.
Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML) is an aggressive cancer of the blood. While there are many types of leukemia, AML is most strongly associated with benzene exposure. All experts can agree that benzene causes AML. If you have been diagnosed with AML and have an occupational history of exposure to solvents or oils, your leukemia may well have been caused by benzene. Additionally, a causal association has also been found for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL). CLL is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow that progresses more slowly than other types of leukemia. About 15,000 Americans are diagnosed with CLL each year, most commonly older adults.
In addition to mesothelioma and cancers associated with benzene exposure, other diseases can occur as a result of workplace exposure to asbestos. Some of the other illnesses that you may be at risk for if you were exposed to asbestos on the job or during your military service are:
- Asbestos Lung Cancer - common in asbestos-exposed workers who also smoke. The most common types are small cell lung cancer (SCLC) with 20% of cases and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with 80% of cases.
- Asbestosis - slowly progressing non-malignant asbestos disease which is severely disabling and can be fatal. Asbestosis is scarring of lung tissue caused by inhaling asbestos fibers.
- Asbestos Pleural Disease - non-malignant disease where pleura is scarred by asbestos fiber inhalation. Pleura is the membrane lining your lungs and chest.