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Author: Rick Nemeroff

Image of a hospital patient, representing a person seeking quick answers and legal advice through a mesothelioma for dummies-style article.

Have you or has someone you love recently been diagnosed with mesothelioma? Looking for pertinent, key facts on the disease? This article, Mesothelioma for Dummies, will answer your most fundamental questions on what the disease is, who is at risk, treatment options, and where to turn for legal help.

Mesothelioma for Dummies: The Basics

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that causes tumors to develop around the thin layer of tissue that covers the internal organs, in most cases, the lungs, heart, or abdominal cavity.  The most common type of mesothelioma, pleural mesothelioma, affects the lungs.  Peritoneal mesothelioma impacts the abdomen, and pericardial mesothelioma originates in the pericardium, which lines the heart.

One of the most important mesothelioma facts to know is this: Exposure to asbestos is the primary cause of this rare form of cancer. Asbestos is a fibrous material used mainly in construction, especially during the 20th century. However, even after they were discovered to be hazardous, asbestos companies continued to make products containing this toxic material because of their strength and resistance to heat.

Who’s at the Greatest Risk for Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a disease largely caused by occupational exposure.  Some of the occupations most at risk include electricians, carpenters, machinists, plumbers, boilermakers, and military personnel.  Additionally, family members of employees who worked in power plants, refineries, steel mills, construction sites, and Navy ships could be at risk for secondhand exposure.  It is unknown how many people get mesothelioma from second hand exposure, but it is contracted from the dust brought home on clothing, hair, or skin.

A large majority of victims of mesothelioma are veterans of our country’s armed forces who served from 1930 through 1980. Asbestos was commonly used throughout shipyards and naval vessels during those years.  Asbestos was an effective and inexpensive way to safeguard sailors from fire, heat, and electrical shock.  It was also used in sleeping quarters, engine rooms, and mess halls as insulation.

Mesothelioma for Dummies: The Disease

Mesothelioma can be difficult to diagnose, as the symptoms can mirror those of many other illnesses.  An early mesothelioma diagnoses is difficult but can happen accidently through a routine x-ray or blood test. If you have been exposed to asbestos, watch for the symptoms and notify your doctor of your risk for mesothelioma.

What are the Symptoms of Mesothelioma?

The early signs of mesothelioma can be mistaken for indigestion, pneumonia, bronchitis, or even the flu.  The growth of the cancerous tumors occurs gradually, and sometimes it takes decades for the symptoms to even present themselves.  As a result, mesothelioma statistics show that by the time the cancer is diagnosed, it has reached the later stages of development. By recognizing symptoms immediately, mesothelioma patients have a significant advantage in receiving an early diagnosis, which can determine the best course of action for prolonged life expectancy.

Pleural Mesothelioma (occurs in lining of the lung)

  • Fatigue
  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Fever/night sweats

Peritoneal (occurs in lining of abdomen)

  • Nausea
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bloating

Pericardial (occurs in lining of the heart)

  • Chest pain
  • Fever/night sweats
  • Shortness of breath
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Coughing

What are the Treatment Options for Mesothelioma?

Despite years of research, no cure currently exists for mesothelioma. However, there are treatments that can improve a patient’s prognosis and quality of life.  The most common treatment for mesothelioma is a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.

Many people choose to also pursue alternative therapies for mesothelioma treatment including:

  • Immunotherapy-assists a patient’s own immune system in fighting the cancer
  • Gene therapy-injects genetic material into the body to target and kill the cancer cells
  • Photodynamic therapy-uses a drug together with light energy to kill the cancer cells

Mesothelioma for Dummies: Your Legal Options

Mesothelioma patients and their families deserve justice and financial compensation for their pain and suffering.  While reading our article about Mesothelioma for Dummies is a great starting point, finding a lawyer who is familiar with asbestos laws and the disease itself is critical.  The attorneys at the Nemeroff Law Firm have the dedication, compassion, and experience you are looking for.  They will fight hard to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Don’t wait, contact us today at 866-342-1929 or by email.

Physician analyzing a scan of a patient, representing the importance of early mesothelioma screening.

Many companies that do not comply with standard health precautions may expose workers to cancerous materials such as asbestos. This material is the predominant cause of mesothelioma cancer, a sly disease that only shows its effects decades after exposure. If you or a loved one have been exposed to cancerous asbestos, consider organizing a mesothelioma screening to stay one step ahead of your health.

How Does a Mesothelioma Screening Work?

The first step to your diagnostic process is seeing a qualified physician who will conduct a physical examination and ask about your medical history and possible exposure to asbestos particles. If there are mesothelioma symptoms or other troubling signs, the physician may encourage further testing.

Who Should Consider a Mesothelioma Screening?

Mesothelioma cancer is very rare, generally found in those exposed to asbestos for a long time, such as firefighters, carpenters, asbestos miners, and construction workers. These occupations are at a higher risk for asbestos exposure, as they may come in direct contact with the carcinogenic material in the workplace. Workers in these occupations, as well as their families, are encouraged to participate in periodic mesothelioma screenings. Because the disease may develop years after the individual was exposed to asbestos, it is critical to undergo mesothelioma testing even when no symptoms are obvious.

Mesothelioma Diagnosis

Many mesothelioma cases arise after symptoms occur, and often this is too late. Asbestos-exposed individuals should undergo regular screenings to find potential complications before symptoms occur. Physicians combine different approaches for mesothelioma screenings, including using these imaging techniques:

  • Radiography: imaging techniques that uses X-rays to project a picture of a certain structure;
  • Computed Tomography (CT Scan): allows a more detailed view and can be used to show fluid around the lungs and scarring inside the lungs;
  • Magnetic Resonance Imagining (MRI): used to show the area cancer has invaded and as a tool for staging the cancer;
  • Ultrasonography: used to show effusions or pleural thickening and may be used as a video-guide if biopsies are necessary; and
  • PET Scan: useful to distinguish malignant from benign tumors and to find areas for biopsy.

In addition, mesothelioma victims often show abnormal concentrations of osteopontin and soluble mesothelin-related peptides (SMRP). By combining mesothelioma blood tests for these molecules and some of the above imaging techniques, physicians are often able to diagnose malignant mesothelioma before severe symptoms appear. If these screening methods are not sufficient, the physician may use invasive methods, such as a thoracoscopy or biopsy.

The Threat of Mesothelioma’s Long Latency Period

One of the major issues with mesothelioma cancer is that it creeps up years after asbestos exposure. Scientists are still researching the disease, but it has been found that gender and exposure time have an effect on the latency period. The time lag presents a threat to those developing the disease: even when clear symptoms show, the victim may not think asbestos long ago was the cause. Because one never knows when the disease will fully develop, the best practice against it is frequent screening to catch any potential complications before they mature.

If the results to your mesothelioma screening are positive for malignant mesothelioma, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Nemeroff Law Firm can fight for your rights. Contact our office at 866-342-1929 or fill in your information on our website for a free case evaluation.

Image of New Orleans, Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina, representing that Nemeroff Law Firm’s Louisiana asbestos lawyers want you to know about the danger of hurricane asbestos exposure after natural disasters.

Bad weather can have detrimental effects on people’s lives. Hurricanes can destroy homes, take lives, and create environmental hazards for years following the event. Hurricane Katrina is no exception. Louisiana asbestos lawyers have become very familiar with the destruction that Hurricane Katrina and other hurricanes created, especially the hurricane asbestos exposure that the destruction of older homes and buildings caused to innocent people and clean-up workers.

Louisiana Asbestos Lawyers Assess Your Exposure

Hurricane asbestos exposure happens as a result of the destruction caused by a hurricane’s path. Older homes and structures may contain building materials that include asbestos. When these homes and buildings are damaged or destroyed by natural disasters, asbestos material can be released into the environment as a result.

The Damage of Hurricane Katrina

Hurricane Katrina is known as the most catastrophic natural disaster in U.S. history according to FEMA. The impact on New Orleans alone was astronomical. Almost the entire city was flooded as a result, and the flooding took weeks to recede. Seventy percent of New Orleans’ occupied housing—134,000 units—was damaged in the storm. Louisiana asbestos lawyers know that amount of damage to housing, especially older housing, will result in damage to asbestos materials. And exposure to asbestos material can lead to very serious medical conditions.

Hurricane Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos is a dangerous material, but only when it is damaged. It is an incredibly strong material that is difficult to destroy. It is resistant to fire exposure and strong enough to withstand substantial temperature fluctuations. In fact, the sturdiness of the material is the very reason it was used in building materials frequently prior to approximately the 1990s.

Though it is difficult to break down asbestos material, it is not impossible. Natural disasters often make quick work of destroying homes and buildings. Hurricane asbestos exposure happens when asbestos siding, flooring, insulation, or other building material made of asbestos is punctured, cut, torn, or broken down in some way.

Once asbestos is damaged or broken down, it releases fibers into the air. These asbestos fibers or particles can be inhaled. And prolonged exposure to asbestos fibers can cause serious health conditions. As attorneys who specialize in asbestos-related disease, we have seen firsthand the life-threatening illness, discomfort, pain, and even death that is caused by exposure to asbestos.

Louisiana Asbestos Lawyers Know What Natural Disasters Can Do

Natural disasters can destroy people’s lives in many ways. Hurricane Katrina destroyed countless lives, homes, neighborhoods, and the entire City of New Orleans. The immediate impact of Katrina was felt deeply by all citizens of Louisiana. While we have been recovering from many of the immediate impacts of the disaster, we need to continue to pay attention to health impacts that are occurring and will continue to occur as a result of hurricane asbestos exposure.

The Louisiana asbestos lawyers at Nemeroff Law Firm can help you determine impacts of hurricane asbestos exposure to you or your loved ones. Our asbestos lawyers have over 150 years of collective experience fighting to help victims of asbestos exposure, and we will fight to recover what you and your loved ones deserve. Contact us at 866-342-1929 or via email.

Image of an attorney working on a laptop and writing notes, symbolizing an attorney from Nemeroff Law Firm reviewing the Pennsylvania asbestos regulations summary contained in this blog.

The use of asbestos in the United States and the damage it has caused to many families are clearly demonstrated in Pennsylvania. But it can be difficult for those affected to navigate all of the laws and regulations that apply. If you’re looking for a Pennsylvania asbestos regulations summary to learn how to stay safe, begin at the federal level, followed by state and local agencies, which provide enforcement and training.

Pennsylvania Asbestos Regulations Summary: Federal Agencies

Asbestos laws and regulations that apply in Pennsylvania begin at the federal level. The following federal agencies have regulations and regulatory authority that relate to asbestos in the Commonwealth:

  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): The EPA, in 1971, identified asbestos as a hazardous air pollutant, meaning it could lead to cancer or other serious health problems. Regulations control the release of asbestos fibers into the air during manufacturing, removal, transport, and disposal. Specific EPA regulations apply to handling and surveillance of asbestos in public schools, as well as the levels of asbestos permissible in public drinking water. It is the EPA that oversees clean-up of Superfund sites.
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA): This agency federal has regulations that are intended to protect workers who must work with or around asbestos and asbestos-containing products. OSHA regulations cover workers in general industrial-type jobs, construction jobs, and shipyard jobs, all of which play an important part in Pennsylvania’s economy.
  • Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA): Much like the OSHA regulations, MSHA standards are meant to control worker exposure to asbestos and implement safety protocols for both surface mining and underground mining.
  • Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC): As the name of the agency suggests, the CPSC can address products that consumers use that contain asbestos and may pose hazard to our health. In fact, the CPSC may ban certain materials or recall products that have proven to pose a risk to consumers. This agency publishes educational material for consumers about product safety and home hazards such as asbestos in the home.

Pennsylvania Asbestos Regulations Oversight: State and Local Agencies

DEP Controls Asbestos Removal in PA and Notification Requirements

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protections (DEP) enforces the federal regulations and other state regulations concerning the hazards of asbestos in Pennsylvania. The regulations apply to “the removal, collection, transportation, and disposal of Asbestos-Containing Material,” but these state regulations do not apply to private residences.

In addition, state DEP regulations address the notification requirements that must be given before asbestos abatement. Other enforcement agencies must be notified to ensure there aren’t additional regulations that govern the site where the abatement will occur.

PA-DLI and PA Asbestos Regulations

For sites that do not fall under the federal EPA regulations, it is the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry (PA-DLI) that takes responsibility for governing proper handling of asbestos and asbestos removal. The PA-DLI also enforces the certification and training requirements for those who will be involved in the removal or abatement of asbestos in Pennsylvania.

Municipal and County PA Asbestos Regulations

Allegheny County, where Pittsburgh is situated, has oversight of asbestos in that county, and Philadelphia asbestos regulations controls and asbestos activity in that county. Other localities may have ordinances that address asbestos located within their jurisdictions or may participate in asbestos removal from sites where the public is impacted. For example, the Montgomery County administers loan funds for cleaning up sites within its borders—the location of BoRit Superfund (Ambler, PA) site.

Questions about Our Pennsylvania Laws or Regulations Governing Asbestos?

Pennsylvania has a strong history of industry heavily involved with asbestos—asbestos mining, coal mining, steel production, ship building, manufacturing, and construction. Our simple Pennsylvania asbestos regulations summary clearly shows that there are dozens of regulations and agencies involved with asbestos oversight. Yet it has become increasingly difficult for victims of this dangerous substance to receive compensation for preventable diseases caused by asbestos, such as asbestosis and mesothelioma.

If you or a family member are a victim of asbestos exposure in Pennsylvania, it is important to get help in understanding your rights. Regulations and laws change, and it is very important that your claim is filed quickly to comply with the statute of limitations.

Nemeroff Law Firm has the experienced asbestos attorneys you need to be successful in getting a financial recovery, and we keep up with all changes to federal and Pennsylvania asbestos regulations. Call us right away at 866-342-1929, or complete our Contact form to get started with a free case evaluation.

Image of Naval Base Kodiak in 1942, representing the shipyard workers exposed to asbestos at Naval Base Kodiak, and mesothelioma battles of some shipyard workers. If you suffered shipyard asbestos exposure, contact Nemeroff Law Firm to learn your legal rights.

Throughout the years, shipbuilders prided themselves on using the best techniques and materials to send people across the seas. Little did they know that one of the natural materials relied on—asbestos—was toxic. Although shipbuilders stopped using asbestos components in the 1970s, people today who were exposed decades ago are suffering the ill effects of asbestos exposure in shipyards decades ago. If you worked at Naval Base Kodiak and mesothelioma plagues you today, read on to learn how to protect your legal rights.

Naval Base Kodiak and Mesothelioma: The Legacy of Shipyard Asbestos Exposure

Naval Base Kodiak has served the U.S. in various forms through the years. From its beginnings as a naval air station to its present-day operations as a U.S. Coast Guard Air Station, the base’s strategic location made it an important point in U.S. military operations on the West Coast. But, while it offered protection for the country’s citizens in times of war or peace, those who worked there suffered asbestos exposure at Naval Air Station Kodiak, leaving a legacy beyond mere memories.

The Establishment of Naval Base Kodiak

Naval Air Station Kodiak was established in 1941, commanded by Commander John Perry. The location was chosen for the surrounding ice-free waters. It served as the principal advance naval base in Alaska and the North Pacific at the beginning of World War II. Ships and submarines from Naval Base Kodiak played a critical role in the Aleutian campaign.

Nearby Fort Greely supplied coast artillery and infantry troops to defend against possible invaders.  Fort Abercrombie was established as a sub-post of Fort Greely with a permanent 8-inch gun battery in 1943.

Kodiak Welcomes the U.S. Coast Guard

In 1947, the Coast Guard Air Station joined the naval base as an air detachment at Naval Air Station Kodiak. The U.S. Navy left Kodiak in 1971. The base is now known as Integrated Support Command Kodiak, the largest operating base of the U.S. Coast Guard in Kodiak, Alaska. Integrated Support Command Kodiak is homeport to USCGC Alex Haley, USCGC Storis, and USCGC Spar.

Naval Base Kodiak, Fort Greely, and Fort Abercrombie are now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The base was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1985.

Naval Base Kodiak and Mesothelioma: The Dark History of the Base

Ships and aircraft that passed through Naval Base Kodiak were built using components that contained asbestos. Until the 1970s, asbestos was in common use because of its heat resistance, fire resistance, water resistance, and resistance to corrosion. It was cheap and readily available, so it could be found in wall insulation, floor and ceiling tiles, fire doors, valves, gaskets, boilers, turbines, incinerators, engine rooms, sealants, cement, hot water pipes, steam pipes, welding blankets, and rope.

It was later learned that material was also a health hazard, so asbestos exposure is now part of the base’s legacy. Workers at the base were exposed to asbestos without the benefit of protective clothing or gear.

The Effects of Shipyard Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos inhalation and ingestion can cause a number of serious, often terminal illnesses. Some of these asbestos-related diseases are lung cancer, esophageal cancer, stomach cancer, colorectal cancer, asbestosis, and mesothelioma.

Asbestosis is a scarring of the lungs brought on by inhaling asbestos fibers. It is characterized by shortness of breath, not coughing, and can lead to respiratory failure. Asbestosis is an irreversible condition that can also lead to an increased risk of developing mesothelioma and lung cancer.

Mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer that attacks the mesothelium, the lining that surrounds the lungs. It cannot be diagnosed for 20 to 50 years after initial asbestos exposure because the symptoms take so long to manifest. Symptoms of mesothelioma can mimic other illnesses such as pneumonia and lung cancer, so it is important to naval base workers to inform their doctors of their history of exposure to asbestos in order to obtain an accurate diagnosis.

Mesothelioma has no cure, and it is resistant to traditional cancer treatments like radiation and chemotherapy. After receiving a diagnosis of mesothelioma, many patients only have about one year to live.

The Relationship Between Naval Base Kodiak and Mesothelioma and You

Naval Base Kodiak workers should monitor their health carefully and consult a doctor if they experience any symptoms associated with mesothelioma. People who worked at Naval Base Kodiak and are diagnosed with mesothelioma should also consider contacting a lawyer to discuss their legal rights.

Shipyard Asbestos Exposure: Your Next Steps

If you worked at Naval Base Kodiak and mesothelioma is your diagnosis, you need an experienced mesothelioma attorney to explain your rights and fight for compensation for you. At Nemeroff Law Firm, our team of mesothelioma lawyers has won settlements and verdicts for asbestos nationwide. Call us toll-free at 866-342-1929 or complete our online contact form for a free case evaluation. We’re here to fight for you.