Asbestos danger: How aware of the risks are you?

You might be one of many Illinois residents who hear the word 'asbestos' and think of insulation hanging in an old attic somewhere. The fact is that serious danger risks still exist, and in many cases, are much more prevalent than people realize regarding asbestos and potential injuries that can occur from exposure.

If you grew up in a blue-collar family, you or someone you love may have worked in a factory, mill or shipyard at some point. While these aren't the only places where asbestos danger tends to be high, if you or someone in your household has worked in such industries and are experiencing health problems, you may want to discuss the possibility of asbestos injury with your doctor.

When danger is most high

You can't see asbestos without a microscope, so it's nearly impossible to know if it's present in your location. In certain situations, your employer or a city official might order an air test done on a particular site or inside a building, especially if there's reason to believe that asbestos is present and has somehow been released into the atmosphere.

Products like spray insulation, floor tiles, cabinetry or bubble ceilings often contain asbestos. As long as it remains undisturbed, the risk for injury is not as high as it might be in other circumstances. For instance, if someone hammers, drills, scrapes or peels away at items that contain asbestos, the risk for injury skyrockets because the microscopic fibers can easily escape into the air.

Additional risk factors

If products containing asbestos get wet then dry out, they become more friable, meaning easy to crumble. This is when asbestos is most dangerous. If you breathe or swallow in a room where these unseen particles are floating in the air, asbestos can enter your body and cause serious, often terminal, illness.

You don't necessarily have to be the one initially exposed to asbestos to get sick. If someone in your household comes home from work and it is on his or her clothing, skin or hair, it still poses a great risk to you and anyone else in the home.

If a doctor diagnoses illness

Asbestosis, mesothelioma and other cancers are among the most commonly diagnosed illnesses associated with asbestos exposure. If you or your loved one contract a terminal disease that you believe might have been preventable were it not for someone's negligence, you might want to discuss your situation with someone in Illinois who is well-versed in asbestos litigation issues.

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