Though asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was once mined in many countries throughout the world, it was its widespread commercial use that eventually caused many to become sick and eventually die from serious pulmonary diseases like asbestosis and mesothelioma, a very aggressive cancer of the lining of the lungs, heart, or abdomen, for which the only known cause is exposure to asbestos.
Why did various industries make such extensive use of asbestos? Basically, the mineral was lauded for its excellent durability and its heat- and fire-resistant properties. It was believed that asbestos could prevent fires (or prevent them from spreading) so the construction industry reasoned that its use of asbestos was keeping individuals safe when, in fact, it often caused more harm than good.
Those in the construction business encountered all sorts of asbestos-containing products while on the job, such as asbestos cord and other similar items that were widely used during the first three-quarters of the 20th century. Asbestos cord could be found in common household appliances, in some automobile engines, and was sometimes used to wrap pipes. When in its intact form, it presented no danger, but because it was often cut, sawed, sanded, or otherwise altered, airborne asbestos fibers were produced and subsequently inhaled by those nearby.
After the U.S. government issued warnings about the hazards of asbestos and asbestos exposure in the mid 1970s, information also emerged which showed that many company executives allowed employees to handle products such as asbestos cord even though they were aware of the dangers of the mineral. This massive cover-up was indeed nationwide and, decades later, resulted in thousands being sickened due to the inhalation of tiny, sharp asbestos fibers, which can become lodged in the lungs and cause diseases such as asbestosis and mesothelioma. Many individuals who worked in the construction industry with items such as asbestos cord have already died of these diseases.
If you or someone you know worked with asbestos cord or other such asbestos-containing insulation items, they may be at risk for developing serious asbestos-related diseases. If you or a loved one has already been diagnosed with an asbestos cancer after working with the toxic material, you or they may have a right to monetary compensation for your loss of income and/or pain and suffering. For more details, fill out our request for information form and learn more about your legal rights.
Last modified: December 28, 2010.