The average construction site is filled with countless hazards, which is exactly why being a construction worker is one of the most dangerous professions out there. Forgotten tools, loose debris and falling objects are some of the most common causes of onsite injuries, but as officials are discovering, it is the unseen threat of asbestos that poses the biggest danger of all.
From the late 1800s to the 1980s, asbestos was a common ingredient in flooring, insulation and roofing materials. Many products, from shingles to floor tile, drywall and anything in-between, were manufactured using asbestos in order to make them stronger and fire-resistant. However, it was discovered that the inhalation of asbestos fibers can lead to a range of health problems—one of which is mesothelioma.
Continued and repeated exposure to asbestos is a major risk factor of mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer that causes the unnatural division of protective cells that line your body’s internal organs. Signs and symptoms of mesothelioma are similar to pneumonia, which is why it often gets misdiagnosed, and include:
- Pleural effusion (fluid between the lungs and chest wall)
- Chest pain
- Unexplained weight loss
- Wheezing or hoarseness
- Coughing up blood
According to the Mesothelioma Victims Center, people at high-risk for contracting the disease are groups who work in proximity to asbestos, such as shipyard workers, manufacturing workers, plumbers, electricians, mechanics, and construction workers. A third of all mesothelioma victims served in the U.S. Navy.
Mesothelioma can sit dormant or undetected for years. In fact, the average age of diagnosed victims is 72. Over 2,000 people are diagnosed with the disease each year, and 70 to 80 percent of these cases can be linked to a history of asbestos exposure at work.
Unfortunately, asbestos exposure continues to be a serious threat to the country’s estimated 1.3 million construction and general industry workers.
The Mesothelioma Victims Center says, “We get weekly calls from families dealing with a loss to mesothelioma. In most instances, the family or victim waited too long to begin the compensation claims process and unknowingly skipped vital other steps, such as getting a will in order and establishing a power of attorney.”
Don’t wait too long to make a workers’ compensation claim for any health issues arising from asbestos exposure. If your loved one contracted a fatal case of mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos at work, schedule an appointment with Colorado attorney R. Mack Babcock to discuss workers’ comp death benefits today and your family’s rights and legal options.