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Asbestos Mesothelioma Lawsuits Names 200 Defendents

April 2009 by Lucy Campbell

In what could well be one of the largest mesothelioma lawsuits to date, the family of a bricklayer in Kentucky has filed an asbestos mesothelioma lawsuit naming 200 defendants.

The list of defendants includes many high profile companies and 2 universities, all of which allegedly knowingly exposed Charles Childress to the highly carcinogenic mineral. This resulted in Charles developing asbestos mesothelioma. But Charles was only diagnosed with the fatal disease in March 2009, reportedly having no idea that he had been fatally exposed to asbestos fibers throughout his career via the products with which he worked or came into contact with.

The suit traces 50 years of Childress' working life as a bricklayer in 10 states. Since 1967 Childress worked through unions in Cincinnati and Indianapolis, and for contractors from Illinois to New York including Sinclair and Madison Counties and Shell.

While trying to sue 200 companies might seem like a tall order, large asbestos mesothelioma lawsuits are becoming more common. Within the past 12 months 2 asbestos suits have been filed, one naming 82 defendants, and the other naming more than 70. It's entirely possible that many more of these types of lawsuits will be brought by the families of men and women who worked around asbestos in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, and who are only now being diagnosed.

Who's At Risk for Asbestos Mesothelioma?

More than 27 million workers were exposed to asbestos between 1940 and 1980. These were predominantly men who worked on or around boilers, pipes, furnaces, and automobiles with asbestos brake shoes. Asbestos was used as an insulator because it can take great heat and remain fire retardant. In the 1960s it wasn't uncommon for pipefitters to work with asbestos insulation using their bare hands.

Typically, in any of these lines of work, dust would generated, dust full of very fine, very lethal asbestos fibers. When asbestos fibers become airborne they can settle in people's hair, clothing and worst of all their lungs. Because the latency period for the disease can be upward of 30 years, many cases are only now coming to light. This trend will continue, as there are likely a great many men who will be diagnosed with asbestos mesothelioma over the coming years.

And the risk of exposure has not been eliminated. Today, approximately 1.3 million construction workers still face significant exposure to asbestos during renovations, demolitions, and asbestos removal. Employees working in areas of manufacturing of asbestos such as textiles, friction products, insulation, and other building materials, are also likely to be exposed, as are employees working on automotive brake and clutch repair work, because asbestos is still used in these areas.

Secondary Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos mesothelioma doesn't just affect the people working with it directly. Because the fibers can become lodged in clothing, family members exposed to that clothing can also inhale the deadly fibers. Recently the medical profession has started to recognize that people can be affected by asbestos-caused diseases through secondary exposure.

During the past few years, many cases of second-hand asbestos exposure have been reported by wives and children of men who worked in the shipyards in World War II. The workers were exposed to large amounts of damaged or "friable' asbestos while on the job. The men may also have sawed, sanded, hammered or otherwise manipulated the asbestos which resulted in large amounts of toxic dust being produced.

Not surprisingly, mesothelioma lawsuits have been filed by women who became ill following exposure to asbestos fibers while doing their husband's or father's contaminated overalls on a daily basis. During interviews with these victims, they have stated that it was quite normal to shake out the overalls before washing them, which created even more airborne asbestos fibers. Over the years, the constant inhalation of these fibers resulted in the development of asbestos-related diseases.

If you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos, either directly or indirectly, it is possible to get checked for symptoms such as of shortness of breath, chest pains and or a persistent cough. For people who have been secondarily exposed to asbestos, there is legal recourse to provide compensation for medical expenses and suffering. This is why so many people file asbestos mesothelioma lawsuits, whether the suits are against one company or 200.

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