Cork is a plant material harvested from a single species of oak, the quercus suber. Commonly known as the “cork oak,” this tree grows exclusively in a Mediterranean climate. More half the cork on the world market comes from Portugal and Spain.
Asbestos in Cork Board Explained
Cork is lightweight, water-resistant and porous. The small pockets of air throughout the material trap heat and make cork an excellent insulator. Furthermore, it is durable and can compress up to 40% and still return to its original size.
There are many uses for this unique wood, including:
- Stoppers in wine bottles
- Bulletin boards
- Mixed into cement to absorb energy and make the cement less brittle
- Varnished floor tiles
- The backing of vinyl tiles
- Ceiling tiles
- Wall paneling
- Insulated steam pipes and heating conduits
It’s not widely known that there may be asbestos in cork board. Before the dangers of asbestos were widely known, it was praised for its superior properties as a durable, affordable, lightweight, insulating, fireproofing material.
Since cork materials are used in insulation in hot environments and homes, asbestos was added as an “improvement”.
Exposure to asbestos has led to thousands of mesothelioma diagnoses. If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, the Mesothelioma Justice Guide will help you understand your rights and know the next steps.
Who Was Exposed to Asbestos in Cork Board?
As an organic material, cork is affected by decomposition. It can break apart and crumble. When the structure of the cork changes during the aging, cutting, drilling or demolition process, asbestos fibers are released into the air.
If your home was constructed with asbestos-containing cork materials, you and your family are likely inhaling, or even ingesting, small amounts of asbestos.
The highest risk of exposure, however, is not to those spending time in an environment with asbestos-containing cork products. Those installing, maintaining or demolishing the material are the most vulnerable to the dangers of asbestos.
Mesothelioma Justice Network Brief
Workers who handled cork insulation materials that contained asbestos are at the highest risk of developing asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma.
Health Risks of Asbestos in Cork Board
When asbestos-containing materials such as corkboard are disturbed, the microscopic asbestos particles are released into the air. Once airborne, the fibers can be inhaled or ingested.
Asbestos fibers can become lodged in the lining of the lungs (pleura), abdomen (peritoneum) or heart (pericardium), where they cause irritation and inflammation to surrounding tissue. Lodged asbestos fibers can lead to chronic conditions like asbestosis and pleural plaques.
In some cases, stuck asbestos fibers mutate healthy cells, turning them into cancerous mesothelioma cells. Mesothelioma has a long latency period and asbestos fibers can lie dormant in organ linings for decades before producing symptoms.
If you have been exposed to asbestos by cork products. it’s essential to report your symptoms. An early and accurate diagnosis can drastically change your prognosis.
Compensation for treatment, loss of income and other damages is available through Asbestos Trust Funds. Workers with mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses may qualify.
Seeking Justice for Asbestos Exposure
Even after the adverse health effects of asbestos were exposed, many companies continued manufacturing products containing the toxic substance. Asbestos was gradually phased out of building materials throughout the 1970s and 1980s. However, some asbestos-containing products like cork board were installed in homes and public places up until the 21st century.
If you worked around asbestos-containing cork board and you’ve received a mesothelioma diagnosis, you may be eligible for legal compensation. Contact the Justice Support team today by calling us at (888) 360-4215. Or request a FREE Mesothelioma Justice Guide to understand your next steps as a mesothelioma victim.