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Are people in West Virginia at risk of exposure to asbestos?

Most people in West Virginia are likely aware of the terrible health effects of prolonged exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is a mineral found in soil and rock, and its fibers are very strong and heat resistant. Accordingly, asbestos once had many commercial applications, including use as insulation in buildings and homes. Likewise, a wide variety of manufactured goods like car brakes, roof shingles and flooring tiles used asbestos.

Because of its wide use, many people were exposed to asbestos over the years and developed severe health problems as a result. Mesothelioma, a form of cancer that develops in the lungs and heart, is caused by exposure to asbestos. Exposure to asbestos can also cause asbestosis, a non-cancerous disease that can cause permanent lung damage.

People who have been regularly exposed to asbestos face the risk of developing these serious diseases. For example, people who work in construction or demolition of older buildings may be at risk of contact with asbestos fibers.

Asbestos exposure can have deadly consequences, and if a property owner is aware that they have asbestos in their building, they should take steps to safely remove or encase it. Because asbestos has not been completely banned by federal law, it is still present in many places. However, that does not mean that it is safe.

Property owners have a legal responsibility to look out for the safety of people whom they invite or allow on their property. A dangerous property condition like asbestos can cause severe injury and illness, and property owners who fail to remove or remedy such dangers can face premises liability lawsuits from injured victims.

Source: Cancer.gov, "Asbestos Exposure and Cancer Risk," Accessed on July 15, 2016

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