Asbestos flatboard was once commonly used in the construction industry. When reinforced with cement, it had a pretty smooth finish that was attractive to users. Asbestos flatboards constructed prior to 1980 may have anywhere from 20 to 80 percent asbestos, contingent upon how and where they were used.
Why Asbestos is Dangerous
Although asbestos is a naturally occurring material it can be extremely detrimental to one’s health if inhaled or swallowed. This fact has been known since the 1930s, but nothing was done about for nearly fifty years. As a result, the health of many individuals who were exposed to asbestos has declined. In 1977, the production of asbestos-laden products was banned through legislation authored by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. However, asbestos flatboard and other asbestos-laden products still existed.
The greatest danger of asbestos shows up in a condition known as mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a lethal form of lung cancer that is caused solely by asbestos exposure. When asbestos fibers are inhaled or swallowed they can cause damage to the lungs, heart, and abdomen with the end result being the spread of advanced mesothelioma.
How is Mesothelioma Diagnosed?
Because mesothelioma can be present in one’s body for nearly three decades before symptoms manifest, diagnosing this deadly disease on one’s own can be quite difficult. If you have been exposed to asbestos flatboard at any time in your life, especially prior to the 1980s, it’s best to have your doctor test you for mesothelioma.
In order to test for mesothelioma, your doctor may have an x-ray picture taken of your abdomen and chest to see if any anomalies are present. Your physician may also implement a special test known as thorascopy. With this test, your physician will make a cut in your chest wall and insert a thorascope between your ribs and chest wall. While this sounds extremely painful, your doctor will administer a local anesthetic. You may feel some pressure, but you likely won’t feel any pain.
What Should I Do If I Have Mesothelioma?
If tests confirm that you have mesothelioma, then your doctor may discuss a number of treatment options with you including radiation therapy, surgery, intra-operative photodynamic therapy, and chemotherapy. Depending upon the severity of your condition several combinations of these treatments may be used to best help you. You should also discuss your legal options with a mesothelioma lawyer to determine if you are entitled to any compensation from former or present employers due to negligence on their part.