Mesothelioma is an aggressive, incurable and malignant cancer for which many Illinois workers are at risk of developing. Why? Because as FindLaw explains, mesothelioma is caused by the build-up of microscopic asbestos fibers in the linings of a worker’s lungs, heart or abdomen. And many workers unknowingly inhale or ingest these tiny fibers every day while at work.
Unfortunately, no surgery, chemotherapy or radiation treatment can cure or reverse mesothelioma. Doctors can only manage it and the pain it causes its victims. The best a mesothelioma sufferer can hope for is a course of pain management treatments and therapies and/or devices to assist his or her breathing.
The stealthy killer
Mesothelioma is known as the stealthy killer. FindLaw also explains that its symptoms can take as long as 20-40 years to appear. Consequently, the statute of limitations for filing a mesothelioma products liability lawsuit or workers’ compensation claim are considerably longer than those for other types of injuries and illnesses. And those statutes of limitation begin running as of the date of the worker’s mesothelioma diagnosis, not the date of his or her initial asbestos exposure.
Workers at high risk
Both OSHA and the EPA have promulgated rules and regulations with regard to the number of asbestos products and materials can contain today. Nevertheless, despite such protections afforded to workers, mesothelioma remains a common form of cancer since all buildings constructed before 1980 contain vast amounts of it. This puts firefighters who often battle fires in old buildings at especially high risk of inhaling asbestos fibers.
Workers in other occupations, too, have a high risk for mesothelioma, including the following:
- Construction workers
- Stonemasons and bricklayers
- Pipefitters and welders
- Auto mechanics, particularly those who do brake repair work
Additional high-risk occupations include demolition workers and renovators of homes, apartments and office buildings.