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Asbestos Exposure

Although use of asbestos in common construction materials has waned significantly in the last 50 years, the substance continues to pose a threat to workers, homeowners and the general public.

Exposure to “friable” or loose asbestos is known to cause a number of respiratory and lung diseases, including mesothelioma, which is a deadly cancer of the lining of the lungs (known as pleural mesothelioma) or stomach (peritoneal mesothelioma). A small percentage of cases also affect the heart (pericardial mesothelioma).

At The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman, LLC, our Massachusetts mesothelioma lawyers represent individuals and family members who have suffered as a result of being exposed to asbestos, whether exposure was recent or occurred many decades ago.

We aggressively pursue compensation from manufacturers who failed to disclose or actively concealed the inherent risks of their products, as well as from individuals or contractors who fail to conduct proper asbestos abatement, thereby jeopardizing the health of workers and others.

While the statute of limitations on most personal injury cases in Massachusetts is three years from the time of the incident, that cutoff is often extended (or “tolled”) for those suffering asbestos-related health issues, as illnesses generally do not manifest until 20 to 50 years later.

Still, if you have suffered recent exposure, it’s best to consult with an attorney immediately to determine your obligations and rights.

These cases can be incredibly complex and require extensive research and expert witness assistance. Only trust your asbestos injury claim to an attorney with the resources and knowledge necessary to secure fair compensation.

What is Asbestos?

The term “asbestos” refers to a group of minerals that occur naturally in the environment, and tend to be easily separable in thin, durable threads. It was prized throughout the 20th Century for a range of industrial uses because of its resistance to heat and chemicals.

Historically, asbestos was used in everything from motor vehicle brakes to home insulation to shipbuilding materials. Production of products containing asbestos spiked significantly after WWII.

Some of the more common uses included:

  • Roofing
  • Insulation
  • Fireproofing
  • Ceiling tiles
  • Sound absorption
  • Insulation of boilers, hot water pipes and steam pipes
  • Vehicle brake shoes and clutch pads
  • Paints
  • Coatings
  • Adhesives
  • Plastics
  • Floor Tiles

Microscopic asbestos fibers may be released when these items degrade or are disturbed. Those fibers are breathed in and become lodged in the lining of the lungs and other organs. This is what causes asbestos-related illness.

When these dangers of asbestos became known to the public (as they had been to those in the industry since the 1920s), use in everyday products declined. But it’s still not outlawed in the U.S., and the material remains in many older structures. If undisturbed and in good condition, it may pose minimal risk.

However, in construction, renovation or demolition projects, asbestos installed decades previously can pose substantial health risks.

That’s why the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has outlined a series of specific guidelines for how individuals, businesses and contractors have to handle removal. It’s admittedly a more expensive process, and unfortunately, there have been many documented instances of dishonest contractors and building inspectors who cut corners in the removal process or fraudulently allow structures to be given safety approval, despite not conducting any tests.

By law, all residential, commercial and institutional buildings are subject to the MassDEP asbestos regulations codified in 310 CMR 7.15. The statutes requires all building owners, renovation and demolition contractors, plumbing and heating contractors and flooring contractors to ascertain whether materials containing asbestos are present at the site and whether those materials will be affected by the activity.

Failing to identify and properly remove all asbestos prior to engaging in renovation or demolition poses a substantial health safety risk to workers and those nearby, which means the government imposes hefty sanctions, including penalties for exposure and elevated costs for clean-up, decontamination, disposal and monitoring.

The state requires that any person or company must be licensed or certified to carry out asbestos abatement or containment.

As our experienced mesothelioma attorneys in Boston know, however, this is far too often not thecase.

The Scope of the Problem

The National Institutes of Health report 11 million people were exposed to asbestos between 1940 and 1978, and between 2 and 10 percent of those exposed will develop pleural mesothelioma (the more common type).

Every year, between 2,000 and 3,000 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed, with men 4.6 times more likely than women to be diagnosed and people over the age of 60 being 10 times more likely to receive a diagnosis. Between 1999 to 2010, an estimated 30,000 people died of mesothelioma.

Those figures do not include individuals who suffered other asbestos-related illnesses, such as lung cancer and asbestosis.

Our dedicated team of Boston mesothelioma attorneys is prepared to take on your asbestos exposure case.

Contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman today for a free and confidential consultation.

Call (617) 367-2900 – NO FEE UNLESS SUCCESSFUL

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