There was a time when nearly every building in New York was built with asbestos lining. Even now that the dangers of asbestos have been exposed and demonstrated time and again, asbestos is still present in many buildings around the City and the country. In fact, nearly 40,000 people across the United States died because of asbestos exposure in 2016 alone. Is any amount of asbestos exposure safe? At what point does it become dangerous? Read on to learn about asbestos exposure, and speak with a seasoned New York City personal injury attorney if you or someone you care about has been exposed to harmful chemicals in the Bronx or NYC.
How Does Asbestos Exposure Cause Harm
Simply being near asbestos is not harmful. Asbestos must be absorbed to cause harm. Many buildings or household products contain some measure of asbestos. When products containing asbestos are disturbed, they release tiny fibers of asbestos into the air. When people breathe in those fibers, the fibers can get trapped in the lungs and remain there for years. Over time, these fibers can accumulate and cause serious scarring and inflammation, affecting breathing and causing serious health problems.
Conditions associated with asbestos inhalation include mesothelioma (a cancer of the thin membranes that line the chest and abdomen), cancer of the lung, larynx, and ovaries, as well as asbestosis (an inflammatory condition affecting the lungs that can cause permanent lung damage).
Damage from Asbestos Happens Over Time, But Any Exposure is Bad
Health experts warn that no amount of exposure to asbestos is considered safe. People should always take precautions to avoid inhaling toxic dust, whether at a construction site, in an office building, or their residence.
That being said, most asbestos-related conditions will arise after prolonged exposure–people who are exposed to asbestos at their job or in their home over many years. Significant short-term exposure can lead to health problems, such as the September 11 first responders who were exposed directly to the asbestos in the World Trade Center, as can lower amounts of exposure over a long period.
Some individuals have developed asbestos-related diseases even after brief exposure. Conditions caused by exposure can take years or even decades to show symptoms. Risk factors that contribute to the likelihood of suffering from an asbestos-related disease include:
- Dose (amount of asbestos)
- Size, shape, and chemical makeup of the asbestos (certain types of asbestos have been known to stay in the lungs for a longer time)
- Source of the exposure
- Individual risk factors such as pre-existing conditions and family health history
If you know or suspect you have experienced any level of asbestos exposure, see a doctor as soon as possible to find out if you may be at risk for an asbestos-related illness.
If you or a loved one has been injured by toxic chemicals in New York City buildings, get help seeking damages from a seasoned professional by contacting the Bronx personal injury lawyers of the Kohn Law Firm at 718-409-1200.