Exposure to asbestos causes severe health consequences that can take decades before they manifest. It is estimated that it can take between 20 to 50 years following exposure for the full health consequences to manifest and become apparent.
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The National Institute of Health estimates that roughly 11 million people were exposed to significant quantities of asbestos between 1940 and 1978. Each year, 2,000 to 3,000 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed within the United States.
Individuals who served in the military, or worked in construction or manufacturing industries are at greatest risk. These have the highest incidence rates of asbestos related cancers. The disease is especially prevalent in those individuals who were plumbers or pipefitters, of for those individuals who worked with chemicals in industrial settings. However, individuals who were surrounded by asbestos products within their professions or at home are also at risk. Teachers, school administrators, office employees, janitors, homemakers, and cleaners also have high incidence rates.
Between two to ten percent of individuals who experienced prolonged exposure to asbestos will develop pleural mesothelioma. Symptoms of this include chest pains, painful coughs, and shortness of breath. Only 40% of individuals diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma will live one year or longer after they are diagnosed. Fewer than 10% will live more than 3 years after their diagnosis.
Exposure to asbestos can also cause health problems beyond the respiratory system. 1% of mesothelioma cases occur in the Pericardium (heart), 1% occur in the Tunica Vaginalis (Vaginal canal), and 10-30% occur in the Peritoneum (Intestinal Tract).
The latency period between exposure and development of symptoms varies considerably based on an individual’s gender. The mean latency for men is 47.9 years, and for women it is 53.3 years. Further, men are 4.6 times more likely to develop mesothelioma than women. Nationally, it is estimated that mesothelioma related cancers claimed 37,000 lives from 1999 to 2013. Up to 350 of these individuals were from Nevada.
Anyone who may have been exposed to asbestos should contact a personal injury attorney in Reno NV to learn more about their options and the statute of limitations for filing claims. In Nevada, individuals must file their personal injury claim within two years of after diagnosis, or within two years if it is a wrongful death claim. Currently, there are over $30 billion in trust funds to pay these claims and it is important not to delay filing for compensation for health consequences stemming from asbestos exposure.