From 1999 to 2013, 14,248 people in Florida died of asbestos-related deaths. A total of 1,239 of those fatalities occurred due to asbestosis. Asbestosis is an environmental injury caused by exposure to asbestos fibers, which are inhaled and which cause irritation in the lungs.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral which has attractive properties, including resistance to corrosion and to heat. Because asbestos is versatile and not flammable, it was widely used in construction, car manufacturing and a vast number of other industries.
Unfortunately, the dangers of breathing in the asbestos fibers were underestimated. It was not until the mid 1970s that asbestos products were first regulated as risks became apparent. Today, there are strict restrictions on asbestos use because of its dangers. These restrictions have come too late for many people exposed to asbestos and who are developing illnesses decades later due to that exposure.
When asbestos fibers are inhaled, the fibers can cause scarring of lung tissue. This can result in a condition called asbestosis. Asbestosis is a chronic, incurable condition characterized by a persistent dry cough; breathing difficulties; weight loss; loss of appetite; and pain or tightness in the chest. Asbestosis sufferers also face an enhanced risk of lung cancer.
Many people were exposed to asbestos at work and developed asbestosis because of their jobs. Benefits may be available through workers’ compensation provided it is possible to prove the asbestosis developed due to exposure on-the-job. It may also be possible to recover from original manufacturers of asbestos-containing products if those companies have not been bankrupted; or to obtain compensation from funds set up for victims of asbestos exposure.
An environmental injury attorney can provide assistance in determining what your best course of action is for recovering compensation or obtaining benefits if you have developed asbestosis.