Despite the years of training, apprenticeship and study it takes to become an electrician, many workers in the industry can overlook one of the largest dangers to electricians outside of electrocution: asbestos.
The medical correlation between mesothelioma and asbestos was known by industry in the early 1900s, yet regulations that prevented manufacturers from using asbestos were not implemented fully until 1980. Even today, there are thousands of buildings in the United States that contain asbestos. When an electrician is set to the task of rewiring or expanding in a building that was made before 1980, he puts himself at risk of developing mesothelioma.
How Asbestos Causes Mesothelioma
When an asbestos containing material (ACM) is damaged or erodes, asbestos fibers are released into the air. Spilling asbestos into the air is incredibly easy to do, all it takes is rubbing against a piece of drywall or disturbing some asbestos-containing insulation to create asbestos dust. Electrical-related materials that have been historically known to contain asbestos include:
- Wire insulation
- Electrical cloth/paper
- Arc chutes
- Ceiling tiles
- Cement and plaster
- Phase barriers
Asbestos dust travels after inhalation to the lungs’ alveoli, which are sack-like cells where transference of oxygen and carbon dioxide takes place. Asbestos destroys these cells and creates scar tissue as a result. When cells die in a person’s lungs, they produce a toxin called “High-Mobility Group Box 1” (HMGB1) which has been linked to why mesothelioma develops in lungs after exposure to asbestos.
Newly developed science allows doctors to more accurately detect the presence of mesothelioma in its early phases. However, it can take decades for mesothelioma to present symptoms after exposure to asbestos, many victims of mesothelioma don’t realize they’ve been exposed to asbestos until years afterward.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, there are several options that you can take. Your first priority after discovering you have mesothelioma should be treatment from a trusted, expert medical physician. Mitigating damage after exposure to asbestos relies heavily on timing. In fact, most medical treatments have a higher likelihood of success if the patient catches the condition in its earlier stages. Even if you haven’t been diagnosed with mesothelioma, regular doctor checkups can make all the difference if you believe you’ve been exposed to asbestos.
Your next priority should be contacting an experienced asbestos injury lawyer. Asbestos injuries are a result of negligence, and deaths by asbestos exposure are almost always preventable. When you are diagnosed, try to collect all documents that show where you were exposed to asbestos, how much physical, monetary, and psychological damage you’ve sustained, and any record that could indicate when you were exposed to asbestos.
An experienced asbestos injury lawyer knows how to use resources and his team of experts to win fair compensation for your injuries, and will not be afraid to go to court for your rights if necessary.