A man who has been exposed to asbestos fibers during the course of his varied career, and who also may have suffered secondhand asbestos exposure, has developed mesothelioma.
Bobby Lee Jones of Indiana has been diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, a rare and incurable cancer which affects the lining of the lungs and inner chest cavity. As a result, he has filed suit against numerous companies in order to recover damages for the loss of income, medical expenses, and pain and suffering that he expects to experience.
Jones was employed at a number of different locations and workplaces between 1970 and 2009. He worked as a laborer, substitute teacher, house parent, division director and chief operating officer in Illinois and Mississippi. Jones’s father may also have inadvertently exposed his son to asbestos fibers while he worked as a laborer at Rockwell Spring and Axle, and as a mechanic at Sinclair’s Service Station, from 1959 until 1979.
Asbestos material is non-flammable, non-conductive, and an excellent insulator; for that reason it was used widely in the mid-20th Century in a number of industrial and commercial applications. Yet when asbestos is damaged or disturbed, or simply after years of wear and tear, it can release a fine, fibrous dust into the air, where it can then be inhaled. After inhalation, the fibers penetrate the mesothelium and cause the cells there to replicate uncontrollably or rapidly—which in turn causes a tumor to form.
Asbestos exposure can be direct, or secondhand, as the fibers can remain in the air or settle on clothing and other items. Not only are workers such as mechanics, plumbers, electricians and general laborers vulnerable, but their families may be as well.
Since mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases may take upwards of 30 years to surface, it’s often difficult for patients to pinpoint exactly when they may contracted the cancer, especially if they have worked a number of jobs and experienced secondhand asbestos exposure, as in Jones’s case.
Mesothelioma is a fatal form of cancer, with fewer than 10 percent of all patients living more than two years after their diagnosis. There are approximately 3,000 new cases in the United States each year.