Archive for June, 2010

Asbestos Risk Factors: Painters

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

According to an article on the Mesothelioma News site, there’s a chance that people who have worked long careers in the painting industry might be more susceptible to mesothelioma exposure.  The reason for this is due to exposure to certain material central to the painting trade, which include texturing paint, drywall compounds, and block filler, some of which might have contained asbestos.  Painters are also often on construction sites, which can be a frequent site of asbestos exposure.

Painters coming in contact with these materials might only have had limited exposure to these materials; nevertheless, even a brief exposure to asbestos fibers that are inhaled might be enough to trigger adverse effects such as mesothelioma and asbestosis down the road.

These links might be somewhat tenuous and are not readily proven; after all, as the article source points out, asbestos can remain latent in the body for so long after initial exposure that it’s difficult to source where the exposure originally came from.  Nevertheless, there might be a correlation.

The painting trade is not the first industry to be linked to mesothelioma.  The construction and shipbuilding industries are more commonly associated with asbestos exposure.  Indeed, one of the more recent articles we referred to in this space was the Fincantieri mesothelioma case, which dealt with a verdict of “negligent homicide” decided against executives of a shipbuilding company in Italy.

There might be other industries affected by mesothelioma, ones whose correlations have yet to be unearthed.  Whatever the case, if you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it might be a good idea to contact a mesothelioma law firm with a long-standing record of experience and success with mesothelioma settlements.  Not only can they provide you with information about such cases, but they might also be able to more ably secure an award for the damages caused by the ravages of this devastating disease.

Vermiculite and Asbestos

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

Vermiculite and asbestos are two minerals used for similar purposes.  Both have been historically used as excellent insulators, since they have highly effective heat resistance properties.  They are also both wonderful fire retardants, which makes them useful in the construction and shipbuilding industries.

That could be where the similarities end, however, because vermiculite is generally considered to be harmless to humans who are mining or working with it, while asbestos exposure can lead to many life-threatening diseases.  These diseases include mesothelioma, which has no known cure and can kill someone with terrifying quickness once symptoms manifest themselves.

Vermiculite is mined all around the world, with particularly large concerns operating in China, Brazil, South Africa, the United States, and Zimbabwe.  Within the United States, the largest mines are in the Appalachian mountain range, especially around Virginia.  It resembles mica, another mineral sometimes used for insulation in electronic devices, and has a brownish, vaguely metallic and glassy hue.

Since vermiculite has some similar properties as asbestos, it is often associated with mesothelioma.  However, there does not appear to be any evidence linking the mineral with the brutal cancer, or with any other diseases typically associated with asbestos exposure.  The major causal association between vermiculite and mesothelioma, at least in this country, appears to have stemmed from the asbestos-tainted vermiculite mines of Libby, Montana.  The case of asbestos in Libby, Montana is a well-documented and devastating one which has affected the lives of many in the area.

Due to the fact that vermiculite is generally considered harmless, it’s still used for construction today.  However, vermiculite from the Libby mines is considered suspect, since much of the mineral mined there also contains traces of asbestos.  That isn’t considered harmless.  If you have been exposed to vermiculite from Libby, Montana, there’s a chance that you might have also been exposed to asbestos.  If that’s the case, it might be a good idea to contact a mesothelioma lawyer with a proven track record of success.

Mesothelioma Victims’ Rights

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

Since there’s so much at stake when one is diagnosed with mesothelioma, understanding mesothelioma victims’ rights can be an important part of dealing with the issue with dignity, understanding, and respect.

We often talk about the grievous physical damage mesothelioma inflicts on its victims because that’s the most visible aspect of the devastation it wreaks.  There are good reasons for that visibility.  First, mesothelioma attacks the body in a particularly cruel fashion, lying dormant for years or even decades before snapping out of its latency period and advancing with terrifying rapidity.  Along with that fearsome onset, there is no known cure for the disease, even though there are several treatments that might look promising out there.  After it’s detected, mesothelioma moves quickly, and the life expectancies of its victims are often measured in months, not years.

What’s talked about less often is the economic aspect of being diagnosed with this savage cancer.  Due to the quickly damaging impact mesothelioma has on the body, it often puts workers out of commission at the exact time money is most urgently needed.  Experimental treatments and expensive, exhaustive traditional ones can cost incredible amounts of money, financial burdens that are often compounded by the fact that many victims are already retired or might not have adequate (or any) health insurance.

When faced with all these unforeseen calamities all at once, it can be tough to face up to all of it.  A mesothelioma law firm might be just the help that victims need, especially if they’re qualified and experienced with similar cases.  The right law firm might be able to provide you with valuable information for securing a favorable mesothelioma settlement in less time than might be possible otherwise, which is an important consideration, especially when taking the brief average life expectancy of mesothelioma victims into account.

The Mesothelioma Treatment Field

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

Mesothelioma treatment is a rapidly advancing field.  Improvements and promising steps forward are made on a regular basis, as modern science does its best to catch up with this ravaging cancer.  Despite what appears to be a constant, if gradual and experimental, march of progress, however, there unfortunately remains no cure for mesothelioma.

Of the three primary methods of treatment for most cancers—surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy—none has proven particularly effective.  One of the more effective treatments used by surgeons is a procedure known as a pneumonectomy, which involves intense chemotherapy combined with the removal of a lung.  Although this treatment does not typically result in a cure for the patient, it can extend that patient’s life.

Any extension of a mesothelioma victim’s life can be a pretty big deal, especially since the average life expectancy of someone diagnosed with this cancer is less than two years.  From the onset of symptoms, the disease moves very rapidly.

Mesothelioma, thankfully, is a very rare disease.  Only somewhere between seven and 40 in a 1,000,000 get it in the United States of America, which is a blessedly low rate.  However, this low rate of prevalence is yet another reason why it’s so difficult to treat effectively.  That’s because there is very little comparative data on mesothelioma out there.  There are projects that attempt to compile disease data, like the Cornell University Mesothelioma Program, which works to establish a national registry of all mesothelioma cases, but the sheer lack of victims results in a lack of studies, which, in turn, means fewer big steps forward.

No matter what happens, it might be a good idea to consult with a mesothelioma law firm about securing a mesothelioma settlement.  When looking for one, think about the amount of experience that law firm has when dealing with cases of that nature, along with the track record it’s amounted.  Gathering those two bits of information will help you make a more well-informed decision, because a mesothelioma lawsuit or settlement is not something that can easily be taken lightly.

What Are the Causes of Mesothelioma?

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

Causes of mesothelioma are usually pretty well-known among those who spend a significant amount of time dealing with mesothelioma litigation, and to any regular visitor of this blog, or its parent site, the Mesothelioma Help Network, this post likely won’t open any new eyes.  Nevertheless, we like to make sure that new visitors are caught up to speed about what makes this devastating, largely incurable disease strike.

There may be other causes of mesothelioma, but the one it’s most commonly associated with, especially as it pertains to mesothelioma law, is asbestos exposure.  Asbestos exposure was prevalent for centuries because, during that time, it was highly prized for its properties as an insulant and a fire retardant in the shipbuilding and construction industries.  The mineral’s fibrous form also made it much lighter than other alternatives, which was another reason it was so coveted.  However, its lightweight, fibrous nature allowed it to become airborne easily by workers mining for it.  And, once airborne, asbestos is easily inhaled.  It also settles on clothing, which can transport the fibers to a worker’s home, where his family members can inhale them.

Once inhaled, the fibers travel to the mesothelium, which is the lining of the lungs or the stomach.  There, the asbestos fibers cannot be broken down, so they remain, where they often cause the mesothelium cells to divide and subdivide unchecked.  Following a latency period lasting anywhere from 10 to 50 years, the cancer in the mesothelioma starts to rapidly advance, causing shortness of breath and a lingering cough.

Once the symptoms of mesothelioma begin to manifest themselves, the disease advances with what can be alarming rapidity.  The life expectancy of someone diagnosed with this brutal disease is often measured in months, not years.  Sadly, though promising treatments are being developed on a regular basis, there is no cure.