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How Much Asbestos Exposure Causes Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive form of cancer that is usually caused by asbestos exposure. If you or a loved one is suffering from mesothelioma, it’s important to understand the factors that play a role in the development of the disease. At Nappa, Monterosso & Poznansky, LLP, our Staten Island mesothelioma lawyers are dedicated to serving injured workers throughout the greater New York City area. Here, we discuss how much asbestos exposure causes mesothelioma.

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that consists of fibrous particles. Due to its resistance to heat and insulating properties, it was used extensively in the construction industry until the 1980s. Although it’s not used as often today, asbestos is still present in certain products such as roofing materials, brake pads, and heat-resistant textiles. There are several different types of asbestos. Chrysotile (white asbestos) is the most commonly used form.

Understanding Mesothelioma

When asbestos fibers are inhaled or ingested, they can become lodged in the mesothelium, a thin layer of tissue that covers most internal organs. Mesothelioma typically affects the lining of the lungs, abdomen, and, in rare cases, the heart. Over time, asbestos exposure can cause inflammation, scarring, and genetic damage to mesothelial cells and lead to the development of cancer. Symptoms of mesothelioma may not appear for decades, which can make the source of asbestos exposure challenging to identify.

Factors that Influence the Development of Mesothelioma

The risk of developing mesothelioma is affected by several factors, including the intensity, duration, and type of asbestos exposure, as well as a person’s individual susceptibility to the disease.

Duration and Intensity of Exposure:

The majority of workers affected by mesothelioma experience prolonged occupational asbestos exposure over many years. However, brief but intense exposure to asbestos can lead to the development of mesothelioma as well. In some cases, just a few months of working with asbestos-containing materials can significantly increase the risk of the disease. The manufacturing, shipbuilding, and construction industries feature the highest risk factors for developing mesothelioma.

Type of Asbestos

Different types of asbestos fibers have varying levels of carcinogenic properties. The needle-like fibers of crocidolite and amosite (blue and brown asbestos) are considered the most dangerous, as they are more easily inhaled and more likely to penetrate the mesothelial tissue. Although white asbestos fibers tend to be more flexible and less likely to cause mesothelioma, they are still hazardous. Exposure can lead to occupational lung diseases like asbestosis as well.

Genetic and Health Factors

Genetic factors and preexisting health conditions can also impact a worker’s susceptibility to developing mesothelioma. Research suggests that certain genetic mutations may increase the risk of asbestos-related diseases. Although smoking cigarettes doesn’t cause mesothelioma, it can exacerbate the effects of asbestos exposure, leading to a higher incidence of lung cancers in smokers.

There is No Safe Level of Asbestos Exposure

The latency period of mesothelioma makes it challenging to establish just how much asbestos exposure causes mesothelioma. While the risk of developing the disease increases the more often you’re exposed to asbestos, there is no known safe level of asbestos exposure. Although it’s uncommon, even secondary exposure to asbestos fibers can cause mesothelioma in family members of workers who bring particles home on their clothing or equipment.

Symptoms of Asbestos Exposure

If you work in an industry that leaves you vulnerable to asbestos exposure, it’s vital to know the signs and symptoms of related occupational diseases like mesothelioma.  Symptoms of asbestos exposure include:

  • Dry cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • A crackling sound in the lungs when you inhale
  • Tightness or pain in the chest
  • Coughing up blood
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Wider than normal fingertips and toes, known as clubbing

If you notice any of these symptoms, seek medical attention as soon as you can. If you’ve been diagnosed with an asbestos-related condition, it’s vital to find an experienced lawyer for mesothelioma claims. Our mesothelioma attorneys in New York can help you understand your rights and advise you on the best path forward for a successful claim.

Contact a Mesothelioma Lawyer in the Greater NYC Area

If you’re suffering from an occupational disease or workplace injury, our team at Nappa, Monterosso & Poznansky, LLP is here for you. Attorney and Partner Rolando Cubela is proud to offer our Spanish-speaking clients the quality legal representation they deserve. Call us at 718-273-9000 or contact us to schedule a consultation with a mesothelioma attorney in the greater New York City area today.

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