Although many people in Pennsylvania may have heard of asbestos-related diseases, such as mesothelioma, they may be unaware of the extent of the problem asbestos poses worldwide. A commonly-used material, the substance is carcinogenic to humans and causes the deaths of 107,000 people worldwide from its effects every year.

Exposure to asbestos can lead to a number of different cancers, including cancers of the lungs, ovaries and larynx. Mesothelioma, a cancer of the pleural lining, is often a subject of litigation due to the resulting deaths of sufferers. Despite all of its known risks, asbestos remains a popular construction material and is used in such applications as insulation and roofing shingles due to its strength, chemical resistance and poor conduction of heat.

Across the world, 125 million people are exposed to asbestos in the workplace on an annual basis. Sadly, up to 50 percent of all work-related cancer deaths are due to occupational asbestos exposure. In addition to its carcinogenic properties, the problems posed by asbestos are exacerbated by its fibrous state, as people easily breathe in the fibers while working.

Pennsylvania employers are mandated to participate in the workers’ compensation program. When a worker has contracted a serious disease related to asbestos exposure from their current or former employment, they may be able to file for benefits from the state’s workers’ compensation program. In some cases, asbestos-related diseases may not show up for a number of years following the exposure. When a person has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another related asbestos illness, he or she may wish to consult with a personal injury attorney. An attorney may be able to review the medical documents and investigate the cause of the illness in order to assist his or her client with filing their claims. In such a way, a person may receive compensation for their injuries.

Source: WHO, “Asbestos: elimination of asbestos-related diseases“, December 22, 2014