The Importance of Healthy Workplaces: The Asbestos Example

America is a land of opportunity where hard work should earn you a good life. Unfortunately, or San Francisco workplace injury lawyer knows that too many of our residents are subject to dangerous working conditions. These conditions include hazardous chemicals that can cause a myriad of health problems, some of which don’t appear until many years later.

One of the most publicized substances that has led to countless work-related sicknesses is asbestos. There are six major types of asbestos and the substance was widely used for many years because of its commercially beneficial properties. Asbestos fibers are resistant to heat and many chemicals, leading to use in a range of construction elements as well as textiles, cement, and protective coatings. Historians believe asbestos was used as far back as the first century A.D. and asbestos was a popular building material as recently as the 1970s and 1980s.

Many people have become ill as a result of asbestos exposure, including illnesses due to inhaling asbestos fibers at the workplace. Three major health problems associated with asbestos exposure are:

1. Lung cancer – The largest share of asbestos deaths are due to lung cancer. Asbestos-related lung cancer has been seen in several occupational areas including milling, mining, and the direct manufacture of asbestos products.
2. Asbestosis – This is a serious, long-term disease for which there is no effective treatment. Asbestosis results from the inhalation of asbestos fibers which irritate the lung tissue and lead to scarring, which makes it hard for the lungs to deliver oxygen to the blood.
3. Mesothelioma – A rare form of lung cancer, mesothelioma attacks the thin membranes that line the lung, chest, heart and abdomen. Almost all cases of the disease are due to asbestos exposure.

Asbestos claims represent the longest and most expensive instance of mass tort litigation in U.S. history. The RAND Corporation (a leading non-profit think tank headquartered in Santa Monica) reports that, as of 2002, asbestos-related litigation included over 730,000 claimants and 8,400 defendants. In 1999 alone, over 200,000 asbestos cases were pending in the federal system. The process of allocating compensation has been complicated by the long gestation period of the related illnesses, the sheer number of claims, and the fact that many defendant companies have had to file bankruptcy.

Individuals who believe they have suffered harm due to exposure to harmful substance at work should know they have legal rights. As with many other workplace health threats, many asbestos cases have been filed on behalf of groups of plaintiffs rather than individuals. Our Northern California class action lawyer knows that bringing claims as a class can alleviate some of the stresses of litigation on individual plaintiffs. Bringing claims as a group can allow individuals with similar circumstances to work together in proving that a shared workplace was dangerous and led to illnesses of even death.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a work-related illness in San Francisco or the surrounding region, please reach out to The Brod Law Firm team for help in obtaining the compensation you deserve.

See Related Blog Posts:
U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Wal-Mart Stores v. Dukes will affect the certification of many class-action lawsuits
Hazardous Chemical Reaction at Monterey Hotel- Hazmat Situations in Everyday Circumstances

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