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Common Myths About Asbestos

While North Dakota is one of the least populated 50 states, it has a history of widespread asbestos usage and subsequent exposure that makes it one of the more susceptible states when it comes to asbestos-borne diseases such as mesothelioma and asbestosis. From 1999 to 2017, according to the site, there were 135 deaths from that disease and another 22 from asbestosis in North Dakota.  

Much of the asbestos exposure comes from hazardous work sites such as power plants, refineries, and military installations. If you served on U.S. Navy ships, asbestos was widely used on the vessels as insulation and as a fire retardant.  

Through the 1980s, asbestos was routinely used in the construction of homes. While exposure at a job site is more prevalent, exposure in homes is possible when remodeling or renovations take place that release the fibers. Even second-hand exposure is possible if a worker returns home with asbestos fibers on their clothes.  

Many people, having heard of the dangers of asbestos, assume it has already been banned and is no longer a threat to be found in newer buildings or commercial products, but they may be shocked to learn that asbestos has not been completely banned, but its use has been regulated in many instances. Still, people harbor many additional myths about asbestos and the ongoing threat to their health.  

If you or a loved one -- in or around Grand Forks, Minot, Bismarck, and Fargo, North Dakota -- feel you have been exposed to asbestos, or worse, you have developed symptoms of an asbestos-borne disease, contact David C. Thompson, P.C. today for legal support.   

Asbestos exposure Attorney David C. Thompson has been helping clients throughout North Dakota with their asbestos-related claims for more than three decades. He has the resources to meet with you to discuss your situation and advise you of your best legal options to recover compensation for your exposure and related health issues. 

Common Myths About Asbestos
and Asbestos Exposure 

In addition to believing that asbestos has been totally banned and is no longer an ongoing threat, people harbor many other myths. Here are some of the most common: 

Myth #1: Every New Building is Free of Asbestos 

In truth, there was indeed once a ban on the use of asbestos issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which came in 1989, but two years later, the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the ban. As a result, the only existing bans on the use of asbestos derive from 1973 and 1975.   

These bans prevent the use of spray-applied materials, “paper-type” products, pipe, and block-type insulations. They also outlaw “new uses” of asbestos, which remain largely undefined. Thus, asbestos may still be found in recently or even newly constructed buildings. Check to see if an asbestos inspection and survey have been done if you’re occupying or purchasing a new building. 

Myth #2: There Are Safe Levels of Asbestos 

There are no safe levels of asbestos exposure. Asbestos fibers, when released into the air, are too tiny to be seen by the human eye, so working or being around asbestos and asbestos products can present unnoticeable health risks.  

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), asbestos exposure for just a few days can lead to mesothelioma in humans. When asbestos fibers build up in the lungs as scar tissue, the result is the disease known as asbestosis, which can lead to disability and death. Asbestos also has been shown to cause lung cancer, ovarian cancer, and laryngeal cancer. 

Myth #3: Asbestos Is Safe If I Wear a Mask 

OSHA does indeed have standards in place for the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) for workers whose job duties require them to deal with asbestos in any of its applications or uses. A mask itself, however, will be insufficient to provide adequate protection.    

When working with asbestos, the proper PPE is more like complete body armor, consisting of coveralls, respiratory masks, boots, and gloves. OSHA recommends that the clothing be disposable and constructed of synthetic fibers that can block tiny asbestos fibers from entering.  

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) further recommends using either a full or half facepiece with an air-purifying respirator backed by a supply of replaceable high-efficiency filters. If possible, the EPA also recommends that the facepiece/respirator be battery-powered.   

Myth #4: It Takes a Long Time
to Get Sick From Asbestos 

As OSHA notes, exposure to asbestos fibers for just a few days can result in mesothelioma. Though the disease may develop quickly, sometimes the symptoms may not appear until years later. In fact, symptoms may not become obvious for ten or more years, even up to four decades later.   

Without getting too technical, it has also been shown through studies that different forms of asbestos can result in different levels of risk. The amphibole form of asbestos, for instance, is more harmful than the chrysotile form because it tends to stay in the lungs longer.  

If you’ve been exposed to asbestos through work or for other venues, it is recommended that you get a chest x-ray every year. The x-rays can reveal abnormalities that may be tumors. CT scans and MRIs, if needed, can paint a clearer picture. 

Get Support from a Dedicated Attorney 

Attorney David C. Thompson’s legal practice is devoted to helping those who suffer from the effects of chemical and asbestos exposure. Though he is located in Grand Forks, North Dakota, he represents clients throughout the state, including Minot, Bismarck, and Fargo.  

If you’ve been exposed at work to asbestos, you will be eligible for workers’ compensation to cover your medical expenses and time lost from work. If you are no longer working and not covered by workers’ compensation, generally speaking, the statute of limitations is six years from the date of your diagnosis to file a personal injury lawsuit.  

The attorney at David C. Thompson, P.C., has the comprehension, experience, and skill necessary to help you pursue the compensation you deserve. Reach out immediately.