Toxic Substances in the Workplace: Asbestos
There are many jobs where workers are routinely exposed to toxic substances without knowing it. This can result in severe injury or illness in the long term. If you have been exposed to chemicals such as asbestos, you may be entitled to collect workers’ compensation benefits. A New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney may be able to help you determine if you have a case.
Asbestos is an especially worrisome chemical, as it is known to cause lung cancer in those exposed to it for prolonged periods of time. It typically presents in the lower lobes of the lungs, and may take a long time, as much as 20 to 30 years, to fully develop, depending on the number of asbestos fibers inhaled. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, lung cancer is responsible for more deaths than any other asbestos-related disease. As such, people who are routinely exposed to the milling and manufacturing of asbestos are particularly at risk for lung cancer. Lung cancer’s symptoms may include coughing and difficulty breathing and chest pains.
However, even those whose exposure to asbestos has not been prolonged may have reason to worry. Unlike lung cancer and asbestosis, which are caused by prolonged exposure, mesothelioma has afflicted some with low or intermittent exposure to asbestos. Mesothelioma is a specific form of cancer that is almost exclusively linked to asbestos exposure, and it targets the membranes of the abdominal cavities. It symptoms include shortness of breath, lower chest pain, and weight loss.
If you are concerned that you have been exposed to asbestos and want more information about eligibility for workers’ compensation, contact New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney Dan T. Matrafajlo for a free initial consultation.