Most people who develop mesothelioma have worked in jobs where they inhaled asbestos, or were exposed to asbestos dust and fibers in other ways. It has also been suggested that washing clothes of a family member who worked with asbestos increases their risk for developing mesothelioma.[
Signs and symptoms of mesothelioma
Signs and symptoms of mesothelioma include shortness of breath due to pleural effusion (fluid between the lung and the chest wall) or chest wall pain, and constitutional signs such as unexplained weight loss. The diagnosis may be suspected with chest X-ray and CT scan, but must be confirmed pathologically, either with serous effusion cytology or with a biopsy (removing a sample of the suspicious tissue) and microscopic examination.Unlike lung cancer, there seems to be no association between mesothelioma and tobacco smoking, but smoking greatly increases the risk of other asbestos-induced cancers. Some people who were exposed to asbestos have collected damages for asbestos-related disease, including mesothelioma. Compensation via asbestos funds or class action lawsuits is an important issue in law practices regarding mesothelioma (see asbestos and the law).
Litigation related to asbestos injuries and property damages has been claimed to be the longest-running mass tort in U.S. history
Since asbestos-related disease has been identified by the medical profession in the late 1920s, workers' compensation cases were filed and resolved in secrecy, with a flood of litigation starting in the United States in the 1970s, and culminating in the 1980s and 1990s. A massive multi-district litigation (MDL) complex filing has remained pending in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania for over 20 years. As many of the scarring-related injury cases have been resolved, asbestos litigation continues to be hard-fought among the litigants, mainly in individually-brought cases for terminal cases of asbestosis and cancers. In the late 19th century and early 20th century, asbestos was considered an ideal material for use in the construction industry. It was known to be an excellent fire retardant, to have high electrical resistance, and was inexpensive and easy to use. The problem with asbestos arises when the fibers become airborne and are inhaled. Because of the size of the fibers.
Health problems attributed to asbestos include
Asbestosis - A lung disease first found in textile workers asbestosis is a scarring of the lung tissue from an acid produced by the body's attempt to dissolve the fibers. The scarring may eventually become so severe that the lungs can no longer function. The latency period (meaning the time it takes for the disease to develop) is often 10–20 years. 2.Mesothelioma - A cancer of the mesothelial lining of the lungs and the chest cavity, the peritoneum (abdominal cavity) or the pericardium (a sac surrounding the heart). Unlike lung cancer, mesothelioma has no association with smoking The only established causal factor is exposure to asbestos or similar fibers.The latency period for mesothelioma may be 20–50 years. The prognosis for mesothelioma is grim, with most patients dying within 12 months of diagnosis. 3.Cancer - Cancer of the lung, gastrointestinal tract, kidney and larynx have been linked to asbestos. The latency period for cancer is often 15–30 years
The flow of money from defendants to plaintiffs and their lawyers can be expeditiously and efficiently prioritized and routed
The failure to acknowledge, let alone analyze, the overriding reality of specious claiming and meritless claims demonstrates a disconnect between the scholarship and the reality of the litigation that is nearly as wide as the disconnect between rates of disease claiming and actual disease manifestation".A review of the scholarly literature indicates a substantial degree of indifference to the causes of this civil justice system failure. Many of the published articles on asbestos litigation focus on transactional costs and ways in which the flow of money from defendants to plaintiffs and their lawyers can be expeditiously and efficiently prioritized and routed.
Asbestos litigation is the longest, most expensive mass tort in U.S. history
Asbestos litigation is the longest, most expensive mass tort in U.S. history, involving more than 8,000 defendants and 700,000 claimants. Current trends indicate that the rate at which people are diagnosed with the disease will likely increase through the next decade. Analysts have estimated that the total costs of asbestos litigation in the USA alone will eventually reach $200 to $275 billion. The amounts and method of allocating compensation have been the source of many court cases, and government attempts at resolution of existing and future cases. The controversy over asbestos-related liability issues is reflected by recent press reports and the position taken by the American Bar Association.
Asbestos litigation is the longest, most expensive mass tort in U.S. history
Asbestos litigation is the longest, most expensive mass tort in U.S. history, involving more than 8,000 defendants and 700,000 claimants. Current trends indicate that the rate at which people are diagnosed with the disease will likely increase through the next decade. Analysts have estimated that the total costs of asbestos litigation in the USA alone will eventually reach $200 to $275 billion. The amounts and method of allocating compensation have been the source of many court cases, and government attempts at resolution of existing and future cases.The fibrosis of this disease is irreversible and permanent so that eventually compensation will be paid to each of these men. But, as long as the man is not disabled it is felt that he should not be told of his condition so that he can live and work in peace and the company can benefit by his many years of experience. By the early 1990s, "more than half of the 25 largest asbestos manufacturers in the US,.
Asbestos Removal and Cleanup & Crime
On December 12, 2004, New York father-and-son owners of asbestos abatement companies were sentenced to the longest federal jail sentences for environmental crimes in U.S. history. The crimes related to a 10-year scheme to illegally remove asbestos. They were convicted on all 18 counts of conspiracy to violate the Clean Air Act and the Toxic Substances Control Act, and actual violations of the Clean Air Act and Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. The RICO counts included obstruction of justice, money laundering, mail fraud and bid rigging, all related to the asbestos cleanup. The son was sentenced to 25 years in prison, forfeiture of $2 million in illegal proceeds from RICO activities, and restitution of $23,039,607 to his victims. The father was sentenced to 17 & 1/2 years in prison, forfeiture of $1.7 million in illegal proceeds, and restitution of $22,875,575 to his victims.
Asbestos Removal and Cleanup
Asbestos abatement (removal of asbestos) has become a thriving industry in the United States. Strict removal and disposal laws have been enacted to protect the public from airborne asbestos. The Clean Air Act requires that asbestos be wetted during removal and strictly contained, and that workers wear safety gear and masks. Over the last ten years, the federal government has prosecuted dozens of violations of the Act and violations of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) related to the operations. Often these involve contractors who hire undocumented workers without proper training or protection to illegally remove asbestos. Contractors who ignore safety regulations in removing asbestos commit an environmental crime that exposes countless people to potentially fatal and excruciatingly painful lung diseases.