Asbestos is a naturally-occurring fibrous mineral that was once used in thousands of products. Although consumers did not realize how dangerous it could be, the companies did know, and we today now know the horrible diseases it can cause, including mesothelioma, lung cancer, colon cancer, kidney cancer, other cancers, and asbestosis.
Exposure to asbestos can have huge consequences if the fibers are inhaled or ingested. Almost no asbestos products were ever truly encapsulated to prevent asbestos fibers from being released. Essentially all asbestos-containing products, including supposed “encapsulated” or sealed products, release (often invisible) asbestos dust when handled or disturbed in any manner. Activities such as touching, scraping, drilling, sawing, cutting, bumping into, sweeping up, etc. all release asbestos into the breathing zone to be either inhaled or ingested.
How Can Asbestos Fibers Become Airborne?
The best way to illustrate this process is to describe some of the ways our clients have been exposed to asbestos while on the job:
Vinyl Asbestos Flooring:
Although the asbestos may truly be encapsulated inside the flooring tiles, asbestos fibers are still released during installation (from cutting) or removal(since the tiles and the asbestos-containing glue underneath are scrapped up). Also, sanding or even over-buffing with a power floor buffing machine, will likely release asbestos. This is one of the many reasons why it can be dangerous to do your own home repairs on suspected asbestos-containing material without the help of a qualified asbestos abatement professional familiar with handling asbestos-containing material.
Asbestos Fire Doors
These doors were designed to withstand high temperatures in case of fires and are often found in many offices, schools, and hospitals. The asbestos core is encased by wood, metal, or other material. However, the asbestos mineral core’s fibers are released into the air when drilling or cutting takes place to install, adjust, repair, or remove doorknobs or locks, or if the door is cut to adjust the height that the core is breached.
These are just two of the many scenarios describing how asbestos can be dangerous to both workers and building or home occupants. Despite the many studies showing that cutting, tearing, ripping out, or even handling releases asbestos fibers into the air, many manufacturers still falsely argue that these products are not dangerous. Regardless of what manufacturers say, asbestos and asbestos-containing products should always be treated as dangerous. Medical science has not yet found a minimum threshold of asbestos exposure below which there is no risk for mesothelioma or other cancer. Even very small exposures can cause cancer. Asbestos-disease are total dose exposure diseases meaning the more asbestos inhaled, the higher the risk of disease.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a disease related to exposure to an asbestos-containing product, the manufacturers of those products should be held accountable for their negligence. Our mesothelioma lawyers have successfully represented thousands of families afflicted by asbestos. Fill out our online contact form, and we will have an experienced member of our legal team follow up with you to walk you through the process.