Understanding the devastating effects of asbestos exposure in West Virginia

Though the incidence rate of mesothelioma may be rare, the condition can be catastrophic for those who suffer from it. According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 3,000 people in West Virginia and across the United States are diagnosed with the disease every year, citing that the rate has decreased since the 1990s.

The decrease could be attributed to the fact that companies have become more aware of the dangers of exposure to asbestos, which is a well-known cause of mesothelioma and other forms of cancer. People who may be at risk of coming into contact with asbestos should know its frightening effects.

Asbestos and where it is found

Until the 1970s, asbestos was widely used in the construction of homes and buildings. However, as the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry points out, people caught on to the dangers of the substance and its use declined, with the U.S. ceasing mining projects for it in 2002.

Despite this, asbestos may still be found in older structures. Further, because it is a naturally occurring substance, people who live in certain geographical areas may be at risk of coming into contact with it. However, naturally occurring asbestos is only an issue if the deposits are disturbed in some way.

What it does

Perhaps the biggest concern regarding asbestos exposure is the lungs. The risk of developing the following types of illnesses increases when someone is exposed to the substance:

The ATSDR points out that these conditions can take 15 years or longer to develop after someone initially comes into contact with asbestos. This is because fibers from the substance can become lodged, eventually causing scarring or inflammation that can result in disease.

The real effects

People living with asbestos-related illnesses face mounting medical bills and potentially a lifetime of discomfort. This can understandably take a toll on their quality of life as well as their relationships with others. In some cases, these illnesses can be deadly.

West Virginia law

Due to the severe nature of these illnesses, West Virginia has a law in place that states that claimants with asbestos-related disease should be given priority when trying to recover damages. Through filing a suit against a negligent building owner or employer, these victims can obtain compensation to cover the cost of living with their condition. Further, because these diseases take so long to develop, the law has tolled the statutes of limitations on these cases.

Anyone who has questions about this issue should consult with a personal injury attorney in West Virginia.