A member of my family died from mesothelioma in 2010. She was a credit union CEO who was NOT exposed to asbestos at work. We understood that she got the disease from her father—a Kodak employee—who apparently brought asbestos home on his clothes.
We have been privileged to represent local tradesmen whose lives have been devastated by mesothelioma. Recently, a factory owner pled guilty to knowingly exposing his workers—including a 16 year old boy–to asbestos. Did you know that . . .
THOUSANDS ARE DIAGNOSED EVERY YEAR
Many people mistakenly believe that problems with asbestos are a thing of the past. Regrettably, this is NOT true.
Every year, thousands of people are diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma and lung cancer. Millions more who have been exposed to asbestos are at risk of becoming ill.
The diseases associated with asbestos exposure do not commonly appear until 30 or 40 years after the initial exposure. Thus, most of the people diagnosed today were exposed decades ago.
YOU CAN BE EXPOSED TO ASBESTOS AT WORK AND AT HOME
The most common sources of asbestos exposure were job-related. If you worked in a job where asbestos was used, you may be at risk for developing mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis or other diseases.
Asbestos was also a regular element in a number of common household items, such as joint compound and dry wall. Family members who worked with asbestos often brought the fibers home on their clothes.
If you think you have been exposed to asbestos, speak with your doctor.
CERTAIN OCCUPATIONS HAVE A GREATER RISK
Historically, the following occupations are most at risk for asbestos exposure: Pipe Coverers, Navy Seamen and Workers, Laborers, Brake Mechanics, Auto Mechanics, Millwrights, Painters, Plasterers, Merchant Marine Seamen, Pipefitters, Cement Finishers, Foundry Workers, Carpenters, Plumbers, Roofers, Sailors, Navy Yard Workers/Yardbirds, Paper Workers, Electricians, Bricklayers, Boilermakers, Machinists, Lathers, Insulators, Welders, Sheet Metal Workers, Crane Operators, Aircraft Mechanics, Engineers, Steamfitters, Masons, Longshoremen, Plant Workers, Powerhouse Workers, Railroad Workers, Inspectors, Maintenance Workers (as many others).
SYMPTOMS OF ASBESTOS-RELATED DISEASES
Symptoms of early-stage mesothelioma or lung cancer can be easily mistaken for other, less serious illnesses. If you feel you may have been exposed to asbestos, see your doctor if you begin to suffer from coughing, shortness of breath, chest pain, or sudden weight loss.
WORKERS’ COMPENSATION [“WC”] WON’T HELP UNLESS YOU GET SICK
Several years ago, we represented a group of local workers who were exposed to asbestos by the criminal actions of their employer. Because they did not have any symptoms, they could NOT file a WC claim.
Nor were they entitled to free medical testing to assess whether they were developing symptoms of an asbestos-related disease. New York is NOT among the states that mandate “medical monitoring” for employees exposed to asbestos.
That being said, Finger Lakes Occupational Health Services [“FLOHS”] often will perform some baseline medical testing at little/no cost to the worker. You can reach FLOHS at 2180 South Clinton Avenue, Rochester, NY 14618. Their phone is (585) 244-4771. Visit them at https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/finger-lakes-occupational-health.aspx
The law may place limits on when you can file your case, so if you have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness, you should speak with an attorney as soon as possible.
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, please contact us to discuss your case. You may file a case even if your last asbestos exposure was 20 or 30 years ago. You may even file a case if you don’t know how or when you were exposed, because mesothelioma is only caused by asbestos exposure.