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Australian Actor Dies After Asbestos Exposure as a Teenager

An Australian actor who spent time on the big screen and small screen on the island nation died recently at the age of 67 after being diagnosed with mesothelioma, The Telegraph reports.

Sadly, our Boston mesothelioma lawyers anticipate seeing more and more obituaries of people who die because decades ago they were exposed to dangerous asbestos in New England without their knowledge.
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Asbestos is a dangerous mineral that was used for decades to construct buildings, fireproof ships and create commonly used products such as hair dryers and crockpots because of its fire-resistant nature. When it was first discovered, authorities didn’t know of the potentially harmful effects.

Yet, it was later found to be potentially deadly when ingested, typically by breathing it in. This happened not only to workers in old factories or in construction, but military veterans and everyday citizens as well.

In the Australian actor’s case, it was in a job out of high school working as an apprentice carpenter in the 1960s that led to his death. It’s likely that he didn’t know that working with asbestos sheeting would eventually lead to his death. Harold Hopkins, who started in more than a dozen movies, including one with Mel Gibson, and played rolls in 160 television episodes, was survived by six siblings.

According to the news article, he died of mesothelioma, only seven months after being diagnosed. This falls in line with typical reports that a person lives about 12 months after being diagnosed with mesothelioma.

Friends said he was healthy, living on fruits, vegetables and nuts, primarily. Yet, the cancer struck quickly. The strange thing about mesothelioma, a form of cancer that has no known cure, is that it takes years to develop. In this case, it was about 50 years between the time he was exposed to asbestos as a teenager to the time he died.

But once a person is diagnosed, their life quickly comes to an end. This is one of the more frustrating things about this form of cancer. It takes so long to develop, masks itself as potential other health problems and once diagnosed leads to a quick death.

Researchers have been working in recent years to develop a cure and to find out more information about this form of cancer. Though it is rare — some say about 10,000 people worldwide die each year — compared to other forms of cancer, it is one that, in many cases, was preventable.

Many corporations that used asbestos in their products or in their buildings later realized there were health risks involved, yet did little to inform their employees. Some people ended up working loyally for years or decades for company officials who set them up to have health problems later in life without warning.

And now, decades after being exposed, their bodies are breaking down and they are suffering a frustrating and painful death because of something that could have been avoided. It’s possible that someone else’s negligence paved the way for a victim to endure a life of mesothelioma.

The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman provides representation for victims exposed to asbestos who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma in Boston and throughout Massachusetts and New England. Call 1-877-617-5333 for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights.

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